Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Deadly Honeymoon

Spent the last few hours reading Deadly Honeymoon by Lawrence Block. A fine little book. I seem to remember Larry saying somewhere that he wished he'd given the hero some more difficulty before wrapping it up. But it worked well enough for me.

The story concerns a honeymoon couple that witnesses a crime and pays the consequences. The burden of such a story is to keep it beleivable. Block is probably as good as anybody at working against the melodrama of most crime tropes. And it's no different here. There's a whole section that turns into an investigation rather than the usual chase-and-hide stuff you find in this type of material. The investigation lends the book authenticity.

Then there are those sentences. Block writes the simplest sentences of any crime writer I've ever read. Each conveys exactly what he wants it to, no more, no less. The effect of each is is exact because Block never entangles the reader in clumsy syntax or undue dependent clauses to get lost in. The prose shines.

There's no doubt that Block's work will survive its time. What's most amazing is that he's been producing it for nearly fifty years. Yes, he's much better than when he started out. But what's even more remarkable is that he's never been bad.


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