Saturday, April 3, 2010

Evil April Third

  The second book in Walter Mosely's "Leonid McGill" series, Known To Evil (Riverhead, $25.95, hardcover), is definitely worth a look.  Leonid is a former mob fixer in New York City who's trying to keep straight while running his PI agency.  He's enlisted by the shadowy "most powerful man in New York" to find a mysterious missing young woman.  The twists and turns the plot takes are highly imaginative.  Recommended, but I'd wait for the paperback on this one.  The first book in the series, The Long Fall, was released in trade paperback in February. You should most assuredly read that title first.

  Benjamin Black is returning this month with the third book in his "Dr. Quirke" series, Elegy For April (Henry Holt, $25.00, hardcover).  This book is highly atmospheric, taking place during a damp, foggy mid-1950s February in Dublin.  However, the characters and plot in no way take a back seat to the setting.
  The doctor's daughter Phoebe tells him that her friend, Dr. April Latimer,
has been missing for over a week.  April is known as a wild girl, and her disappearance is blown off by many, saying that she's probably just run off with a man.  April's creepy, high-profile family especially want nothing to do with this, having disowned her years before.
  Included in April's circle of friends are Phoebe; Jimmy Minor, an annoying reporter for a Dublin paper, Patrick Ojukwu, an African studying to become a doctor, and Isabel Galloway, an actress at the Gate Theater.  Suspicion falls upon Patrick, naturally, this being mid-century Ireland.
  The black humor, dourness, and persistence of Dr. Quirke are unique and come through as his battle with drink becomes a huge problem whilst attempting to solve what happened to April, a junior doctor at Quirke's hospital.
  I've read this one twice already; it's that good.  Read the first two in the series. They are outstanding as well.

  PI Mike Kelly is returning for his third case in The Third Rail (Knopf, $24.95, hardcover), by Michael Harvey.  Taking place in 2010 Chicago, this one is a thrill ride on Chicago's El, where a deranged killer (or two?) is indiscriminately shooting riders and then moving on to other sites in Chicago for more carnage.  All the while he's taunting Kelly, who gets pulled into the case in more ways than one.  Yes, this time, it's personal!
  Images from his childhood come rushing back as the killer lets Kelly know that he's been watching him for years.  It's then revealed to him that the madman has kidnapped Kelly's girlfriend. What will he do next?
  The details of contemporary Chicago and Kelly's Irish-American background add a lot of flavor to this fine entry to the series.  Read 'em all.
  Here's a trailer for The Third Rail.

  See youse next time.

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