22 July 2009

The Opposite of Chick-Lit

Summer is the time of the year when bookstores inevitably cram their shelves with fluffy quick-reads about romance, friendships, travel and shopping. Sure, I've been guilty of reading the odd chick-lit tome (Confessions of a Shopaholic springs to mind) but it's not my favourite genre.

Instead, I find myself reaching for the stuff on the other end of the scale. Is there an industry term for this type of book? Think spies, mafia, murder and mayhem. Thrillers or suspense, I suppose.

Anyway, I have been reading Charlie Huston's Hank Thompson books (downloaded for free -- thank you Random House & Stanza -- to my iPod) and also snuck in the quick-to-read Dark Harvest which takes place somewhere between Sleepy Hollow and the Twilight Zone.

I started the Charlie Huston books in order with Caught Stealing. The book introduces the reader to Henry "Hank" Thompson, an alcoholic bartender who agrees to do a favour for a neighbour that lands him in a world of trouble. It is confusing at times and brutal throughout. Plenty of people die. The pages are filled with fist-fights, guns, drugs, booze, blood, cars, and sports -- I almost expected a waft of Old Spice -- but man, it is a good read. I'm working my way through Six Bad Things now, which picks up where Caught Stealing left off, and I am already looking forward to A Dangerous Man, the third in the series.

I picked up Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge during our trip to Vancouver last month, on sale at the Book Warehouse. I got sucked in by the cover that features a menacing pumpkin-headed monster and pull-quotes promoting the author as the next-best thing in horror. I trusted that Peter Straub and Stephen King would not steer me wrong and took the Bram Stoker Award as further validation. The story is as twisted as the vines that make up the October Boy (the monster from the cover). Again I found myself reading about guns and gore and men with some serious rage issues but it wasn't gratuitous. OK, maybe some of it is gratuitous but it's still a good read.

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1 comment:

Anne said...

I just can't do the chick-lit thing... If it's an overly pink cover, I stay away!

For me, it the post-apocalyptic books. Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling is one of my favorites. Definitely not pink!