Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cracked Earth

Every now and then I attempt a new author I've never tried before and as a result I've just finished John Shannon's 1999 novel Cracked Earth. Earlier this year I'd read his debut novel, The Concrete River, and was suitably impressed and so I've now read the second in the series. Chandleresque (and therefore similar to Robert B. Parker), I've enjoyed both books and will probably pursue the Jack Liffey series via Amazon as I've only come across one place here in Oz that stocks them. Both these novels were OOP for a while and have only recently been reissued which is a good sign and there are now eleven books in the series. 

In Cracked Earth, a former Hollywood star Lori Bright hires private investigator Jack Liffey to find her missing fifteen year old daughter Lee Borowsky. Lori shows Jack a fax of a kidnapper's ransom note demanding $50,000 and no cops. As the book progresses and he gets closer to his prey, Jack finds himself trapped between the cops, software developers and the standover men of Los Angeles and he threatens to walk out on this case. Then the book shifts gears with a Los Angeles earthquake providing a massive wrench in the action. 

A little reminiscent of a talkative Harry Bosch, John Shannon's first two novels reek of Raymond Chandler updated to the 21st century. He is capable of capturing the mood of the LA city scene, gritty characters and a nice mix of situations like movie making and earthquake aftershocks. Not highly recommended (although still enjoyable) - unless your a fan of Raymond Chandler, but an interesting diversion from my normal reading mix of authors.

Burn brightly, Pete

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