First, I gotta say I'm deeply disappointed that nobody gave me this for Christmas:
Because, not only do I want my shotgun accessible, I want it so accessible that I can get to it before I'm actually awake. And of course, I want it accessible to my 3-year-old. Oh, wait... "Not intended for homes with children." Or homes that children ever visit. Or homes with sleeping people. Or...
You know, there are plenty of bedside gun safes that provide access within seconds ...
I've been in a reading rut lately. It happens every once in a while. I pick up a novel, start reading, and after a few pages or a few chapters, I put it down. I don't care whodunit, don't care who lives, who dies, if justice is served. I'm bored.
I've learned that, whenever I fall into a reading rut, I need more than a good story. I need to read exceptional prose.
And by that, I don't mean flowery, show-off prose. I just want the writer do be doing something with language. That something might simply be making the language as clean as it can be.
David Ellis posted a while back, asking if good storytelling or good writing was more important to us as readers. Of course we always want both, but I find as the years pass, good writing becomes increasingly important to me.
This time, I got out of the rut by reading MARATHON MAN, by William Goldman. It had been years since I'd read it, but I remembered being impressed by Goldman's prose.
And for good reason. Man, that is a beautifully written book. The prose is lean and clean and evocative, pulls your eye down the page. Just a terrific book. And of course, it's awesome storytelling, too. The complete package.
Last time I fell into the reading rut, it was Elmore Leonard who pulled me out, with RUM PUNCH. Again, great writing, and great storytelling.
So, in preparation for the next rut, I turn to you: What crime novels impress you with both storytelling and writing chops?