Friday, April 20, 2007

Read Lately: The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly

  • I am a very selective reader. Whether it's in words or pictures, there are too many options for me to slog through something I don't enjoy. So when I find an author that hits my buttons correctly (Can I still use that phrase in a non-ironic way?), I become a very loyal reader. Michael Connelly has become one of those authors.

  • The Last Coyote, the fourth book of his Harry Bosch series, is an exemplary example (whee!) of the detective mystery genre. As it starts, Bosch has finally gone over the line with the LAPD and is on disciplinary leave. He may be freed from the burden of day-to-day casework but he is still driven by his mission to right the wrongs in his city. One wrong in particular, the murder of his mother.

  • Any good mystery tells us as much about the detective as the crime being solved. In this case, the crime informs Bosch's character so much that to take him out of the story would destroy it in every way. The three previous novels in the series have only cement the groundwork upon which this tale plays out.

  • Michael Connelly has by this point (I mean 1995 when the book was published. Duh.) already developed a natural writing style that is spare, but still evoking the look and feel of modern Los Angeles. His prose is fast moving and relentless in its pace. However character development does not suffer from the speed with which the book reads. Instead the intensity of the mystery casts his characterizations into high relief, sharpening their personalities and propelling their growth throughout the novel.

  • My only nitpick is more due to the nature of the genre than with this book in particular. I much prefer for mysteries to be solved at the climax of the book. However in this novel, the tension peaks too early. Instead of resolving the mystery, you get a build to a second, much weaker climax before the end. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it feels forced more than anything. And for a novel that has done so much right to that point, it is a little disappointing.

  • Nitpick aside, Michael Connelly is now on my list of go-to authors for when I need a new mystery. Thank goodness there are so many of his books I haven't gotten to, yet!

Monday, April 9, 2007

News Filter: We Need Another Fire Hydrant, Again

  • For the second time since we moved into this house, someone collided with the fire hydrant outside the neighbor's house in a solo accident. Both times in the middle of the night. Last time, the guy was killed. This time the driver was able to continue about three or four houses down the road and seems to be okay.

  • In both cases the vehicle had to cross from the opposite side of the street to collide with the hydrant. What is it about that hydrant that people just have to take a crack at it ever so often?

  • The twenty foot geyser outside is kind of cool, though. The sounds reminds me of our vacation to Niagara Falls.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Random Shots: All Alone At Work

  • Not to give anything away about my personal life, but the place I work is nothing but rows and rows of cubicles. We're not exactly stacked like cordwood, but there is a dreadful efficiency to the whole affair. When that system breaks down, it is often amusing, though of the head-shaking, world-weary sort. On the row to which I was recently moved and which has room for 15 people, there are three of us.

  • The other two are sick today.

  • So there is no one to watch me goof-off, at least not in any appreciable way. There is always the random, long distance surveillance to which we are all accustomed, so I won't be using my computer for pirating any recent theatrical releases. But I do have the time to post my ponderings on this perfectly portentous... um, blog. Maybe I should try that again.

  • I did take the time to balance the ol' check book. It seems like a worky thing to do. If I'm going to work, I might as well get paid for doing so. I'll also pay bills here if I have the inclination and the cash, the latter being the important part. Debtors don't really care much about inclination. I once received a tersely worded letter from the cable company stating that they had to return my inclination as they could not accept it as payment, but would kindly send a pair of large, hairy men with limited vocabularies to help me produce an unreasonably required check. So much for thinking outside the box, guys.

  • When I really want to goof off, I usually troll my favorite web-comics and various computer game message boards. I'd list them here, but why deprive myself of a potential future blog post? Talk about your cliffhangers!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

News Filter: It's Official - Guild Wars 2

  • PC Gamer finally hit the shelves at the local bookstore. And thank goodness because the folks at the local Ralphs, CVS, Waldenbooks, and Borders were tired of me coming in every day without buying anything. That I found the issue at Barnes & Noble is beside the point.

  • The point is that Guild Wars 2 is official. Although I knew in my gut that the rumors were true, it was hard for me to really get my head around it. Guild Wars the First was a certified success, with over 3 million units sold. So why would they give that up?

  • If I was ever going to write a post titled "Why Anjin Doesn't Play Guild Wars Anymore?", this article just blew it out of the water. The folks at essentially admit that, although the game is a success, they've made enough mistakes with the design that going the best recourse is to start over with a new game. I whole heartedly concur.

  • Also official is Eye of the North, the first expansion pack for my first online gaming love. I swear, that World of Warcraft hussy doesn't mean a thing to me. Looks like I'll be updating my other blog sooner than I thought.