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George Ernsberger
Posted 12/31/21

Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino (Minotaur).

Big, strong, intricate crime novel, set in and around Tokyo. It’s called a Detective Galileo novel, for a guy who isn’t a police …

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Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino (Minotaur).

Big, strong, intricate crime novel, set in and around Tokyo. It’s called a Detective Galileo novel, for a guy who isn’t a police detective at all but a professor of physics (that’s where his nickname comes from); he’s a great friend of the force, often called on as a consultant when a case gets more complex the more it’s investigated. This is just the first the column has seen of that series (even though it’s the fourth by this very strong author that we've covered over several years). I was reminded pretty strongly of his most recent one (of three years ago) when I noticed that the the translation, here, was unusually fluid, more informal and comfortably easy-going than translations from the Japanese always are, and that prompted me to look back and of course discover the same name: Giles Murray is the translator of at least these two most recent novels).

Cutthroat Dogs: An Amos Walker Mystery by Loren D. Estleman (Forge).

A mystery of what one might call the opposite type from Higashino’s Silent Parade, if only the world of crime fiction—or crime, or fiction—were that simple, a straight line with just two ends. This one is smart, beautifully written and constructed—a classic form, simply and satisfyingly realized—and about half the size of Higashino’s. Estleman is a tireless creator of fully realized and respectfully executed wise-cracking private eye fiction; you come to realize in an Amos Walker mystery that nothing you’ve read lately is as carefully and perfectly made as everything this guy does. And that private-dick wise cracking deserves the same degree of creativity as detection, and is a great pleasure in and of itself; when it’s executed this conscientiously it strikes us as effortless and natural. And that’s just the decoration; this is a well-made, fully furnished suspense novel.

Dark Night: An Alaska Wild Mystery by Paige Shelton (Minotaur).

The third in this series by the veteran mystery writer (currently the author, also, of the Scottish Bookshop series). These are, we’ve seen, not outdoor adventures, as the series title seems to imply, but nearer to locked-room mysteries, given the carefully controlled population of the town. Here, our central character Beth's mother shows up—to Beth’s deep dismay. Not that she doesn’t love her mother, but, like the rest of the world, she wasn’t supposed to know where Beth was, or how to get there. So there’s a lot to untangle all the while new murders are being committed.

Criminal Mischief: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods (Putnam).

The sensationally prolific Woods has (I’ve said this of him before, probably—certainly it’s been worth saying for a while) Woods has lost nothing; he probably never will. It’s perfectly fine to start here, if you haven’t; if you have an acquaintanceship with these books, you’ll need no more than this announcement.


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