Ute fiction, Holden style

As part of a discussion about How To Reduce Your Petrol Spend To Zero Overnight, a post at Henry Gee's blog The End of the Pier Show, I commented:

"All good Australian crime fiction has a ute in it somwhere." (Thinking, Peter Temple, Adrian Hyland, etc). To which Henry replied: 

"The Ute must be the updated version of the Holden Pickup (unless the two are consanguineous simultaneous the same thing), as in this extract:

Bruce Strayne walked into the bar. There she was—Sheila—the girl of his dreams, the mata hari of Wagga Wagga, looking like a million dollars. “What kept you, Richard Bruce?” she said. Her teeth were like stars (they came out at night). She had the voice of a buzz-saw and the smoker’s cough of a ‘57 Holden Pickup.

From Picnic at Hanging Participle by Adelaide Brisbane, reproduced without permission."

Just as well I didn't mention the footy, then.

From Nordic to points south and west

Moving south and west from Nordic crime, to some other new reviews:

Glenn Harper of International Noir Fiction turns his attention to Vita Nuova, the last novel by Magdalen Nabb written "at the height of her powers", says Glenn: "her books are richly rewarding on their own, both as crime fiction and as a portrait of a unique place, whether you recognize that city from your own experience or only from the author's loving portrait." I read the first few of the Marshall Guarnaccia books some years ago, and am not quite sure why I stopped. This one is one I'll look out for on my travels.

Several blogs have pointed out the amusing "advertising on a car" stunt for Peter James's new novel Dead Man's Footsteps, but Helen of It's Criminal has written the first actual review that I've read. The book once again features Roy Grace, and here's part of Helen's take: "As this brilliantly complex tale moves between Brighton, New York and Melbourne, the threads binding these stories together become more and more tightly woven. Dead Man’s Footsteps is a masterpiece of plotting; it is police procedural at its best, with clue building on clue, and connections being made through a combination of good solid detective work and a little luck." This book is lurking on my shelves so I shall be reading and reviewing it myself before too long. (See here for Peter James's other books in this exciting series.)

Far be it from me to exhibit jealousy, but I am coming close to it when I read that Material Witness has got hold of a copy of Robert Crais's Chasing Darkness. This author's Elvis Cole (PI) and Joe Pike (sidekick) novels have a loyal following of readers, among whom I number myself. Although they are quite "manly" books, emotions are increasingly coming through, as both main characters confront their pasts, deal with various mess-ups on the girlfriend front, etc, as well as either solving cases (Elvis) and guarding bodies (Joe). Chasing Darkness is, according to Material Witness, less intense than some of the recent outings, a "fine mystery novel, with a tightly-bound plot and a a typically compelling narrative and Crais' easy, seductive style. And some of the old Elvis was even back, the happy-go-lucky wisecracker of the early novels who was one of crime fiction's most entertaining characters: perhaps the one you'd most like to have a beer with."