Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Poison SkyThe Poison Sky by John Shannon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is my third John Shannon's book, and I still have several to go. "The Poison Sky" is a strange mystery. From a quiet, Ross Macdonald-style (albeit set in the age of Internet) mystery, it morphs into a cinematic disaster thriller.

The characters are somewhat believable and there is less pop psychology than in the same author's "City of Strangers" and dialogues are not as cheaply philosophical and contrived as in Mr. Shannon's "The Concrete River". However, Jack Liffey is still too good to be quite believable. Lew Archer, despite all his greatness, was more human.

However Mr. Shannon has an obsession of sprinkling scenes of L.A. weirdness all over his novels. "The Poison Sky" has more such scenes than the two previous books I read combined. I am afraid that the trend may continue, and I still have 7 of his books to read. Sure, L.A. is weird, just not that weird. Most people in L.A. are still obsessed with the same thing as people in all other cities in the world - making money and acquiring power in whatever form they can.

The biting descriptions of various religious and para-religious cults are sharp and funny. Writing is economical. The book is beautifully short. The main problem is that what started as a four-star book ended as a one-and-a-half-star one.

Two and three quarter stars.

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