Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Retread Post

Someone sent Beth a quiz over at her blog, the object of which was to name three obscure favorite books. I picked three of my favorites and posted them at Beth's blog, but I figured I'd put em up here as well. Anyone wishes to join the game, feel free.
The Night Remembers by Ed Gorman
A haunting, melancholy mystery novel. A dead convict's mother hires private detective Jack Walsh to prove her son was innocent of the crime that got him killed. The mystery takes the back seat to meditations on age, love, and family. I don't think the book ever made it to paperback. One of Gorman's overlooked and underrated novels.
Derby Dugan's Depression Era Funnies by Tom Dehaven
I bought this one off the remainder table on a whim and it ended up being one of my favorite books. Set in the 1930s, it follows the life of a freelance pulp writer Al Beady. In addition to banging out a pulp novel or two every month, Beady ghostwrites several comic strip features, including the titular Derby Dugan, a strip modeled after Little Orphan Annie. Beady's stormy friendship with Derby's creator artist Walter Geebus forms the core of this book. The period detail is amazing, recalling the pre-television days when comic strip artists were stars and people eagerly awaited each four color installment of their favorite strips. Just a really amazing novel.
Cold in July
One of the early and lesser known works of the prolific Joe Lansdale. Ostensibly a thriller, the book has as much to say about the relationships between fathers and sons as it does about the nature of crime and the darkness that lurks at the edge of our daily lives. I need to re-read this one.

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