Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Three Thrilling Men


These thrilling men are two favourite and one semi-favourite suspense novel writers of mine - note, not the gorgonized, miniature ones pictured above. Or in this case I have to admit, usually favourite and semi-favourite since these three books that have been my latest read from them, have all been rather disappointing. Very much in plot but also in their usual fluency and as in Reginald Hill's case, wit and humour.

So if you haven't read any of these writers before, these three latest read of mine are most certainly not the books to begin with. Yes, even if the books are about the same stablemates solving crimes they're said to be free-standing and can be read in a non-cronological order. Myself I never do that, I like to keep things in (cronological) order, at least when it comes to books. But for some - odd beings - cronological order or not doesn't seem to make a difference.

However, for some mystery - pun! - reason the small quality publishing company of Minotaur doesn't publish all books in cronological order. Which is completely annoying when it, for example, comes to Reginald Hill's pair Dalziel & Pascoe.

I know the books are suppose to be suspense novels - yes there's more than meets the eye in me -, but I really like it when you get more than a glimpse of their respective personal/family life too. So when the books are published non-cronological (pre-marriage, suddenly older daughter, divorced, daughter just been born, colleagues this, colleagues that, whatever happened to... etc) it gives a less pleasurable read.

The first Reginald Hill book that was published in Swedish was On Beulah Height (first published in 1998) - which was a most pleasant encounter, if it hadn't been for the translater going waaay out on the Yorkshire moors to try and translate Dalziel's dialect into Swedish. Major nuisance. But other than that I found it to me a very good, witty, intellectual mystery read.

The second book published was Bones and Silence (first published in 1990), and is that weird or not, non-cronological and with 8 years apart... Then came The Wood Beyond (1996), Recalled to Life (1992), and somewhere along here I began looking for the English versions since I really wanted to fill in the non-cronological gaps. Strangely enough I haven't been able to find the very first Dalziel & Pascoe book, A Clubbable Woman (1970), until just recently.

So after I finished this book of less-than-the-usual-high-quality named Ruling Passion (1973!!) - I guess that year of being first published can give a clue as to why it wasn't a very good read, 35 years down the line one might gather that the writing has improved considerably for most writers... - I continued with the clubbable one, and once again I have to honestly say that it isn't a very good read.

But I will of course adamantly finish it, no question about that! And when I've finished it it will be the 12th book - of them three in English, since I actually find the Swedish translations to be a more than notch more enjoyable read than the English original... - by Reginald Hill I've read. And even if the earlier books aren't nearly as well written as the later ones I will still think he's a wonderful way with words and plots, mystery/suspense/thriller genre or not.

Next thrilling man then, Ian Rankin. Great writer, who let's you take more than a peek behind the "glossy" facade of that gorgeous, fascinating city called Edinburgh. As in most places, countries, cities, villages things aren't what they seem, and he writes about them in a non-compromising way. The jaded, run down, the worn, torn and shabby back side of Scotland's grand city.

It's not intellectual, it's more hardcore, in-your-face suspense novels, but very well written just the same. I relish every new pocket edition. Well, perhaps not the latest one as much then, Fleshmarket Close. I found it to be more than a bit lenghty, lacked in plot credibility, haphazardly written.

So far eightish excellent Chief Inspector Rebus-books gulped down, more to come.

The last of these three men is Peter Robinson, who also writes about a pair of police stablemates. But, IMHO, not at the same high quality level as Hill and Rankin. And since the personal relationship between these two reminds me a whole lot of the tiresome, immature and incomprehensible one of the police detectives in Stephen Booth's novels, I'm no great fan of his books - although I've read seven of them so far - I just see them as some light, relaxing, far-from-imprint-reading. Now and then you need that too. Besides these books are set in Yorkshire too, can't be that bad a read then. Nevertheless, Yorkshire set or not, the latest read, Piece of My Heart, was *a bit* too strained, long-winded add an anti-climax ending. End up with a far from satisfied undersigned reader.

For some odd reason number two, Robinson's books aren't published (in Sweden) from the very beginning of the series either, granted cronological published but only the books that's been written after In a Dry Season. This bugs me, since I'd like to know a bit more about the background of the main characters and what makes them tick. And since I don't think this is an amazing writer I can't be bothered finding the books in English. Just a slight case of vexation. Needed to be ventilated.

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