May 25, 2008

if i stand at all

Posted in books tagged , at 1:50 pm by placeinthestars

So I’m reading Mask Market, the not-quite-latest Burke book from Andrew Vachss, and, well, okay. First off, I should probably disclaim my love of these books upfront. I mean, even though they’ve sort of devolved into histrionic mary sue stories over the years, I still enjoy visiting with Burke and Max and Michelle and the Professor et al. I love the cadence of these books – the pop philosophy interspersed with sserious violence. The ability to be over the top and pithy at the same time. It’s sort of like The Wire by way of John Woo (which is not to say that these books are on par with The Wire, because they’re not, but the gritty urban feel, the knowledge and love of a city [New York in Burke’s case], the view of life from the criminal side – those things are similar).

I feel like the language lately is shading into a parody of itself – there’s such a thing as too hardboiled, I guess – and Vachss is no James Ellroy, but still, I always find myself drawn to the style and the rhythm of the writing in these books, definitely more than the plots (which I don’t retain, I admit) and almost as much as the characters. Possibly because the style shapes and illumines the characters. Hmm…

I have been reading it kind of piecemeal, so I guess I will eventually pick this back up again and finish it, but I haven’t yet.