When your favourite authors start dying even the most reasonable reader should be forgiven for becoming a nervous, obsessed, idiot hoarder of books that can, after all, be re-read should the unthinkable eventuate. Despite an overwhelming desire to continue this hoarding behaviour, eventually the yearning for books like CALIBRE becomes too strong and, as a result, I'm no longer hoarding CALIBRE. (DISCLAIMER: I have no information whatsoever with regard to Mr Bruen's state of health... it's just that he's a favourite author and there's always the chance that any one of my favourite authors could beat me out the door....)
I'm not 100% sure what called me to this book over the last few days, but I found myself inexplicably incapable of looking past it when scanning the shelves for a little something to fill in a hot weekend. Which plan failed dismally as I read it in a single setting. Not because the book is 192 pages long, because it was so extremely, gloriously readable.
Of course we're talking Bruen here, so it's rapid-fire dialogue, recited by unconventional characters, with a healthy disdain for the rules or much in the way of propriety. There's also the most marvellous dark, dry humour - personally I thought Sergeant Brant's method for becoming the British equivalent of author Ed McBain had a weird sort of merit, although I doubt his colleague, who was being set up for a systematic fleecing of his ability, would agree....
CALIBRE, as with all of Bruen's novels, is not for everyone. We're not talking straight-forward police procedurals here, nor are we necessarily talking much in the way of complicated plots. What we are talking is a sense of noir, of the dark side, of black humour and somehow, disconcertingly so in some places, realism. Favourite author or not favourite author I'm going to have to snap out of hoard mode and get back into reading (and re-reading) all of Bruen's books.