Monday, August 23, 2004

Dirty Sally

This weekend I read Michael Simon's Dirty Sally. The best brief description of the book I can some up with is that it's like the 87th Precinct as written by James Crumley. Or maybe Boston Teran.

It's one of those books that begins over the top and builds from there. Everything is ramped up to the nth degree, and reading the book is sort of like watching a DVD at 2X. It's the kind of book where cars "roar" and "speed" and "zoom." By the end, the main character hasn't slept in weeks, he's been beaten to a pulp, drugged, beaten again, mauled by a bear (OK, I made that last one up), but he's still functioning and puts everything together for the big confrontation scene.

The plot, to put it politely, is preposterous. The uber-villain does any number of incredibly stupid things, but then there's not really a believeable character in the novel. The Chinatown-like resolution is just silly.

The narration is a Duke's mixture. Some of the scenes are first-person, some are third-person. I don't like the mix even when James Lee Burke does it, and I don't like it here. I don't even see the reason for it.

I gave up trying to count the bodies and the buckets of blood, but there's a sufficiency of both. Trust me.

Drugs? You bet. Grotesque scenes of corpses and autopsies? Absolutely.

There might have been a time when I was the target audience for a book like this. Not anymore. But it will probably sell well. As someone once said, if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like.


Mystery Dawg said...

I thought that it was a fun read. Every once in a while I need a book like this.

Unknown said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Sarah said...

I've heard really mixed takes on it, from those who flat-out raved to others who found it complete derivative trash or basically imitating Ellroy (which would make a certain sort of sense as they do share the same agent.)My own personal jury's out, but a Boston Teran comparison? A dangerous one to make, perhaps, considering where Teran's at about now?

Unknown said...

I was reminded a little of Teran's style by this one, but I have to confess that I've read only Teran's first two books. And mostly skimmed the second one.

Sarah said...

Well, I tried DIRTY SALLY after reading about it here. Gave up after page 30 when I realized it wasn't grabbing me. Ah well.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually like noir, and can't even follow it half the time, but this kept me engaged enough right through to the end. It was great fun. I think that's the point of this genre, isn't it?