Thursday, April 16, 2009

If you're into gritty...

Recently I've been working to broaden my reading horizons. I have been doing that mainly to save the money from buying books I really want to read and relying on my local library. My local library is good, but to keep the books coming, I've branched out a little.
The opening of this book was read at the writing workshop that I attended as a good example of good (very good) dialogue. And I was interested. The author wrote for the HBO series "The Wire" and I really enjoyed the shows that managed to see (even though they were for very mature audiences and really needed a fast forward button for optimum comfort). Before I read this novel, I wasn't really sure why I liked the show (other than cute actors, but that only gets you so far). I had a lot more time to think about this as I read "Lush Life." It isn't a quick read. It's not difficult, but there's a lot to cover in a simple crime: one of three men is shot and killed leaving a bar late one night. And it requires 455 pages to get the entire story.
Reasons to like "Lush Life"
1. The dialogue really is good. Not forced or fake, it feels real and it makes NYC real as you read.
2. The heroes aren't all good and the bad guys aren't all bad. Matty the detective is a good guy, but he makes mistakes and his kids don't like him. Tristan is just a kid who does a bad thing, a stupid thing. And the police operation is the most messed up character in the book. Taking a look at all the politics and trades required to accomplish solving this simple crime is really interesting and I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.
3. And the best part of this story is seeing it from so many sides: the police, the neighborhood, the victim and accused, the family, and real person behind the gun.
The novel's for mature audiences too. It's kinda...gritty, but if you like police drama or want to expand your street lingo (and really, who doesn't?), you might check it out.

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