Posts Tagged ‘crime novel’
Netflix recommended the BAFTA-winning TV show A Touch of Frost to me, and so I watched the first episode. Since I enjoy British police procedurals I checked the first novel of the Frost series out of the library.
Frost at Christmas rehashes the same mystery as the pilot of the TV show, although the TV show made several changes. The core mysteries are still the same. Eight-year-old Tracey disappears after leaving Sunday school. While searching for Tracey, police finds the remains of a skeleton tied to a bank robbery from 1961.
The multiple storylines—the missing child and the cold bank robbery—are mixed up with other, less-drawn cases that Frost inadvertently solves, like the stolen electronic equipment. Frost calls himself inefficient and bumbling, and sometimes lets other detectives take credit for his work. Yet he’s the one who ultimately sheds light on multiple crimes, and he’s warm-hearted and humorous. His character can be coarse and makes crude remarks at inopportune times, but he also works long hours and clearly cares about solving cases. He’s likable and sympathetic. I can see why this novel was picked up as a TV series . . . that ran for eighteen years.
Frost has a brand new Detective Constable under his wing, the newly promoted Clive Barnard who happens to be the nephew of a police bigwig, and the juxtaposition of the two makes an entertaining contrast. Barnard isn’t as likable as Frost, but as he also wants justice he makes a nice counterpart. None of the characters—Tracey’s prostitute mother, the drunk homeless man who is sure the police stole a quid from him—feel like caricatures.
Frost in Winter is a little grittier than a cozy, but it’s not graphic or overly violent by any means. It should appeal to a wide range of mystery and crime fans.
Title: Frost At Christmas
Author: R. D. Wingfield
Source: Public Library
Read: March 2011
Jim Thompson focuses on the dark side of life in The Grifters. All three major characters are con artists, and at first, they don’t know the others are also in the game. Their greed and perverse love permeate the novel.
After reading the Red Riding Quartet, this novel didn’t seem shockingly dark. The Grifters showcases bad people doing unforgivable acts. Which just doesn’t mean the novel isn’t dark as disturbing, just that the noir genre has evolved since Thompson wrote in the 1950s.
Thompson’s writing is fearless, and I enjoyed the twist at the end. Roy Dillon has a chance at redemption and a real job, but his past won’t relinquish him. This novel is a great choice for fans of pulp novels, and authors such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Patricia Highsmith.
Read by: Kelly
Title: The Grifters
Author: Jim Thompson
Read: February 2011
Source: Public Library