29 December 2010

New stuff and new old stuff

Found a copy of Walter Mosley's The Tempest Tales (2008) in Ashland yesterday. Mr. Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins stories, and as excellent as those books are, they are only a small part of his output and give little indication of the range and depth of his work. Check out Futureland and The Man in My Basement if you want to have your preconceptions about a "crime writer" challenged. As far as his crime stories go, Mosley is often compared to Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler, but I think of John D. MacDonald as his literary antecedent. Both are superb observers of their time and astute social critics, and manage to craft taut, fast-paced tales peopled by intriguing and sympathetic characters. That is no mean feat. Speaking of The Late, Great John D., I also picked up a Fawcett Gold Medal reprint of his 1954 novel Contrary Pleasure. It looks like a 1970s vintage but is in good shape despite the yellowing pages. I found the first of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series (Cop Hater) in a somewhat battered late-80s re-issue, and the second of Donald E. Westlake's Sam Holt mysteries (I Know a Trick Worth Two of That), recently re-released in trade paper by Felony & Mayhem. I also grabbed a hardcover omnibus of classic pulp called Tough Guys & Dangerous Dames, which is 600 pages of everyone from Robert E. Howard to Robert Bloch. It features a story by Paul Cain ("Black"), one of the best writers you've never heard of, and no relation to his more famous contemporary James M. Cain.

I also ventured into The Music Coop, where antediluvians like me can find actual albums on CD. I picked up John Prine's Sweet Revenge (1973) and Patty Loveless' Mountain Soul (2001). Like I said: new stuff and new old stuff. That ought to keep me entertained for a while.

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