Monday, September 29, 2008

The Evil that Men Do -- Dave White

While recovering from the after-effects of Hurricane Ike, I was able to do a little reading, though that's pretty much stopped.  I can't really concentrate as I go through Internet withdrawal.  

One of the books that got me through the post-Ike period was Dave White's The Evil that Men Do, the second book in the Jackson Donne series.  Donne used to be a private-eye, but he's lost his license, and this book isn't a p.i. novel.  It's a kidnap thriller.

The motive for the crime is located in the past, the 1930s, and White does a good job of mixing the sections of the story from that time period with the ones from the present.  It all has to do with Donne's family, with whom he has a shaky relationship.  His sister's husband is snatched, and Donne agrees to help find him.  Donne and his sister would like for their mother to help with some insight on the past, but she's in a nursing home, her mind about gone.

It's a tense tale, and while I liked White's first novel, this one's even better.  One reason is that White's ditched the first-person/third-person narrative for one that's all third person (James Lee Burke, take note).  The result is, for me, a story that flows better.  A very entertaining book, and one that I was glad to have around during a tough time.

[As for nitpicking the sections set in the past, I'm a little skeptical of the use of "motel," and I thought the Swiss Army Knife didn't really become part of our culture until after WWII.  But I could easily be wrong on both points.  Not having convenient Internet access makes it tricky to look stuff up, and that kind of thing shouldn't really bother anybody, anyway.  They just give old guys like me pause.]

4 comments:

  1. Richard Heft1:43 PM

    Bill, the word "motel" apparently dates back to 1925. Whether it was in common parlance by the Thirties is another story; mI though they were still called "auto courts" or "motor hotels."

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19930425&slug=1697701

    I still remember my shock when Robert B. Parker's POODLE SPRINGS contained the term "tank top."

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  2. WOOOOOO!!!! Thanks Richard, I almost freaked on that one. Not sure about swiss army knives though. But I did look up tissues!!

    Thanks for the great review Bill. Really appreciate it.

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  3. The Swiss Army Knife dates back to 1897, so the author is on solid ground there.

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  4. Right, but I thought it didn't make much of an impression in the U.S. until after WWII when the G.I.'s came home. I can't remember where I read that, so I probably just made it up.

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