Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wright and Ardai Conquer Baltimore

In case you missed the news, two books I mentioned earlier just won top awards, announced at Bouchercon. Ed Wright's DAMNATION FALLS snatched a Barry, and Charles Ardai's SONGS OF INNOCENCE (written as Richard Aleas) landed a Shamus. Here's what I said about them:

Damnation Falls is Edward Wright's first thriller since his terrific series about 1930s cowboy movie hero turned crime dog John Ray Horn. As he proved in that series (Clea's Moon, While I Disappear, Red Sky Lament), Wright is a brilliant writer, and his new book confirms my original comment on the Horn series -- "the kind of art that stirs up old memories and pierces the soul."

Damnation Falls leaves Horn back in Hollywood in the 1950s, and moves on to Randall Wilkes, a top Chicago journalist, fired for making stuff up (could that really happen?), who takes a job writing the biography of Sonny McMahan, a former Tennessee governor who was the journalist's boyhood friend. Sonny wants to use his biography, and an economic regeneration project around his home town of Pilgrim's Rest, to relaunch his stalled political career. To complicate matters, Randall's estranged father is the head of the new museum that will be the center of the regeneration project – and he hides a dreadful secret about the town's history.

Ardai/Aleas writes with genius about a former cop turned private investigator named John Blake, who keeps on losing the people around him -- especially women he loves. He also takes savage beatings which slow him down but never stop him. Snap these up: they rank with the best of the masters that Hard Case publishes...

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