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piiskoor

Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

McGlue
Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
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Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Slammer - Allan Guthrie Somewhere between 2 and 3 stars; I enjoyed it well enough, but was more taken with its ambitions than the actual experience.

Again taking a page--and character arc, various contextual trappings, and a plot--from classic noir predecessors, Guthrie's novel follows a nervous nelly named Nick Glass, a new prison guard, as he is surely driven from anxiety to full-blown paranoid aggression by his colleagues and his "clients". He is trapped in a plot, and every little step he takes to assert some control over his destiny drags him ever more deeply into the tar.

I'll say no more than the novel only seems that straightforward, far more linear and (well) apparently obvious than the excellent Savage Night which preceded it, but Slammer does actually play a few intriguing games. That said, even these games seem not unfamiliar to fans of Jim Thompson. What's great about Guthrie are two qualities: 1) a streak of sick dark humor and 2) a genre fan's appreciation for the elements that work, *and* for the ways you can and should and might reshuffle those elements, reconfigure them to disrupt and tease and energize.

All said, a reasonable read. But if you had any inclination to check out Guthrie, go immediately to find Savage Night, and then once you're sold on him, start reading your way through everything he writes, as I'm doing, and will continue to do.