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Dirty Work

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Nothing overtly wrong with this book - potentially interesting characters, okay story. But the writing is far too spare and simple for my tastes. I prefer mysteries with atmosphere and complexity.
Revenge of the Tide

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I loved the first half of this book - for a while it was so hard to put down, I feared that I had derailed my life by picking it up - but gradually interest waned. It remained fun to read but the plot got more predictable, I never really liked the main character, and I got frustrated with the number of times that she made boneheaded decisions that put her in danger for the service of the plot. Curiously, for all the sex, the book was not very sensual. All in all, a fun read but nothing special.
Firebreak

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The juxtaposition of existential ennui, adventure, and ill-fated romance are unforgettable. This book made such a profound impression on me back when I read it some years ago, I don't want to re-read it lest I'm left with less impact.
The Flamethrowers: A Novel

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If I had not received a free copy in exchange for a LibraryThing review, I would not have finished this book, which frustrated and ultimately bored me. Kushner has the chops to be a spectacular writer and does a lot of stylistic muscle-flexing but all of the disparate components of this remained just that. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. I liked the components but I wanted a fusion of pieces that would make the whole hang together. Instead, every time that story momentum started to build, or I started to get into a character or relationship, I got thrown out and had to slog through exposition for its own sake, and too many pontificating characters. Perhaps my negative reaction would have been less pronounced if the cover quote had not proclaimed her "one of the most brilliant writers of the new century." That quote raised expectations that this book never remotely came close to meeting.
Double Indemnity

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Noir perfection. Every word, character, and moment in this book are right.
Free Fall

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This is my first E. Cole book but not my last. I loved the characters, the deeply smartass sensibility, the locales. I didn't quite buy some of the basic plot premise here but enjoyed going along for the ride nonetheless.
Hairstyles of the Damned

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Entertaining and likeable. The characters feel resoundingly true to life, unlike so many "written" teens. I greatly enjoyed reading this book, and ultimately found it charming (although I expect the author would gag at that word).
Tangerine

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This is such a good book, moving, witty - a reason I kept reading YA fiction after my kids were too old for me to keep reading to them!
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

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Extremely thorough and comprehensive, at times painfully so. I love Monk but struggled through details of every member of every band during every month of his adult life. Nonetheless and sometimes in spite of itself, painted a rich and atmospheric picture of life as a jazz musician in NYC and gave me a good sense of who Monk was. I keep toggling between 2 and 3 stars.
Just Kids

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a bit disingenuous at times but evocative, compelling, and wise.
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