Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Book: Briarpatch, by Ross Thomas (1984)

During Ross Thomas month recently, I proclaimed from the rooftops of the hardboiled fiction list Rara Avis that THE FOOLS IN TOWN ARE ON OUR SIDE was the master’s masterpiece. Others were quick to nominate this Edgar-award winner. In his appreciation of Thomas, Roger L. Simon calls BRIARPATCH “a classic of the ‘corrupt town’ genre” and compares it to the work of Sinclair Lewis and Robert Penn Warren. I vowed to read the book again and reconsider my decision.

BRIARPATCH is a corker, all right. Ben Dill leaves Washington for the dusty burg of his youth when his sister, a homicide detective, is killed in a car bombing. The story behind her death involves D.C. power players, bent intelligence agents, and down-home skullduggery. There’s the usual gallery of Thomas rogues, and an ending that’s a heartbreaker.

But I’m gonna dance with the one what brung me. FOOLS, with its intimately epic scope, remains my favorite.

Miscellaneous: Public Service

I’ve gotten several emails about the striking specs featured in the pilot episode of the ABC series EYES. (If you type Tim Daly, glasses, and EYES into Google, guess who comes up first?) I take my civic responsibilities very seriously, so I tracked down the maker of this dazzling eyewear: Dop Design. No need to thank me. But if you all want to chip in and buy me a pair of shades, I wouldn’t say no.