So, a couple of weeks back, I decided to dig deep into my “to-be-read” pile and read some books that had been sitting there, unread, for years. Looking at these books, some a couple of decades old, had a strange side-effect. I started to remember all the bookstores I used to haunt to find these books. Wordsworth in Harvard Square, the original Harvard Coop (before it became a Barnes and Noble), the slightly crazed and somewhat overwhelming New England Mobile Book Fair (before its recent organization, Reading International, Kate’s Mystery Books, the many branches of the Paperback Booksmith in its prime, and on and on. Before the age of Amazon, Boston was full of bookstores. I remember there were a couple dozen of them in Harvard Square alone (they actually printed a map in the early 1980s so that you could find them all.) And book hunting was a great way to spend my free time.
Back before the age of Amazon, IK had also learned a lesson: That if you saw a book you really wanted, you should pick it up NOW, or you might never see it again. So it was that I picked up the first two Hap and Leonard books by Joe Lansdale in a SUPERMARKET (true story.) And so it also was that I collected about twice as many books as I could ever read.
But I just read one of those books now; DEAD SILENT by Robert Ferrigno. from 1998. I really liked the author’s earlier book, THE HORSE LATITUDES, and picked this one up when I came across it in some bookstore’s mystery section. This is the type of book I’ve bought lots of over the years. I guess you’d call it contemporary crime fiction, the sort of book that sold lots of copies in the heyday of mass market paperbacks. The book is cleverly written and well plotted. I found it particularly interesting since the central mystery hung on what was then contemporary but what is now obsolete technology. The protagonist is a rock and roll producer, and reel to reel audio recordings and the dawn of cell phone technology figure prominently in the plot.But the characters are well developed (including an enigmatic hitman who always dresses in bright blue) and the ending actually surprised me; something that doesn’t always happen to somebody who writes as much as I do.
All in all, a suitable beginning to my bookcase exploration. I’ll now move the other three Ferrigno books up closer to the top of the pile.
Next up (I think), a seasonal horror novel. I should ramble on about that in a week or so.