I’m a victim of American crime

…American crime fiction, that is.
I can’t seem to get enough of James Ellroy, Ed McBain and Elmore Leonard at the moment. I’ve also just finished Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Long Goodbye’, which was excellent. I loved this quote from Chandler –
“Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.”
Elmore Leonard’s stories often focus on the story of the criminals themselves, as opposed to the detectives hunting them down. They’re not sophisticated criminal masterminds plotting revenge a la David Baldacci either, they’re thieves, drug dealers and liquor store armed robbers. My world is so completely different to that of 70s/80s Detroit, but he takes me straight into it. I’ve recently ploughed through Freaky Deaky, 52 Pick Up, Swag and several others. Great stuff.
James Ellroy’s novels must be amongst the most complicated in terms of plot and number of characters that I’ve read in a long time. Next time I pick one up I ought to start keeping a note of who’s who. If you leave the book for a day or two for whatever reason, it can be hard to pick it up and remember all the characters. Maybe a ‘cast list’ at the start of the book would help make them easier going. The last two that I’ve read, American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand, have an even more staccato tone to them than the Black Dahlia and the Dudley Smith books. It’s amazing how much he packs in in terms of plot in such a short number of words. White Noise is next on my list to read.
Dubai has a great secondhand book shop that will buy your book off you for a reasonable price. If you buy a book from them, they’ll refund you half the price if you return it to them – rather like a compromise between a public library and a standard book store. I hope someone else in Dubai is reading as many books by these authors as I am and is visiting the same shop. If not I’m going to be spending a lot of money on new editions.


2 Responses to “I’m a victim of American crime”

  1. shaz Says:

    Hi, I have found this blog of yours ultra useful in many ways, specially for off-roading tips n tricks!
    I would like to purchase a few books on off-road routes in the UAE, preferably the UAE off road explorer, and was wondering if i could find them in the 2nd hand book shop you mentioned above? Do let me know the name of the shop n the add/tel. no..or if you know anyone giving away the book, i can pick it up!

  2. Chris Says:

    Hi Shaz
    You can find the Off Road Explorer in most branches of Spinneys. I’ve also seen it in a few petrol stations as well.
    I can’t remember the name of the second hand bookshop, but it’s opposite Lal’s supermarket in Satwa.
    Good luck!

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