Thursday, January 10, 2008

Book: Red Cat, by Peter Spiegelman (2007)

It’s always strange to leap into a series in the middle. But considering the acclaim Red Cat has received, I figured it was time to meet Peter Spiegelman’s New York private investigator John March.

March is the black sheep of his family. Which is why he’s surprised to be hired by his own brother. David March is a successful financier. Also a married one. That doesn’t stop him from meeting women anonymously via the Internet for what are supposed to be meaningless flings. Unfortunately his latest paramour, a mysterious beauty who calls herself Wren, isn’t interested in going away quietly. Wren has worked out David’s identity and is threatening to expose his indiscretions. John’s job is to turn the tables and learn who she is. Only once he does, he also discovers that Wren isn’t interested in something as simple as blackmail – and that David may not be the innocent victim he claims to be.

I have one quibble about Spiegelman’s writing. Ending a chapter with a plot twist, then starting the next one some time later and filling in what happened after that twist, is a powerful device. Unless you use it in almost every chapter, as Spiegelman is wont to do. Then it becomes somewhat mechanical.

But that’s a minor complaint. Red Cat is smart, suspenseful, and full of sharp observations about family, marriage and New York. Particularly when it comes to categorizing every type of cold weather that plagues the city come winter. Red Cat is the third of the John March books, so I plan on doing some falling back of my own.

Miscellaneous: Links

Both courtesy of Movie City News. 15 performances left on the cutting room floor. Then Joe Queenan on why No Country For Old Men is set in the past, and how technology has killed suspense.