Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TWIN PEAKS Return Doesn't Disappoint

It is happening again.

David Lynch's surrealist mystery Twin Peaks is back again after 25 years, on Showtime cable network, and it remains as eerie and disturbing as ever.

The narrative resumes where the original series left off. Familiar local characters return, much older now --- Deputy Hawk, Lucy Brennan, the Log lady. New characters are introduced in other locations. Beneath the surface, the transcendent evil that inhabited the woods around Twin Peaks has now spread through a portal to infect the wider world.

All the trademark Lynchian themes are present. The link between reality and dreams. The fluidity of past and future time. The synchronicity of seemingly separate occurrences. It's all a metaphysical jigsaw puzzle overlaid against a criminal investigation mystery.

We wait until FBI agent Dale Cooper can find a way to escape from the limbo place where he remains trapped. When that happens, Cooper can begin to oppose the shape-shifting evil that has been set loose. In Lynch's vision, gateways exist between different levels of reality, doorways often represented by the crackling of electricity.

The dreamy, disorienting spell of Twin Peaks pulls us in once more.

Friday, May 19, 2017

INTO THE WATER a Tangled Psychological Maze

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is the author's new suspense novel after her previous best seller  Girl on the Train. The new title is a similar puzzle of memory and deceit told through a series of alternating character points of view.

The novel takes place in the insular English village of Beckford, where a sinister pool in the local river has claimed the lives of a succession of women going back centuries. The place is known as the Drowning Pool, where women have died -- some by suicide, some by violence in the era of witchcraft hysteria, some more recently by murder perhaps.

The latest to die is Nel Abbott. Shortly before that was teenager Katie Whitaker. Both deaths at first appear to be suicides. Investigating the case are two detectives, the locally born Inspector Sean Townsend, and Sergeant Erin Morgan.

The mystery winds through the changing internal viewpoints of a half dozen characters. But all of them may be unreliable narrators holding back their own secrets, including one of the detectives. The story is convoluted, jumping into flashbacks at times, requiring close attention by the reader to follow the narrative.

Into the Water is a tangled psychological suspense tale that builds slowly toward a resolution that is itself enigmatic, where we can still not be certain we really have the final truth.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

GOLDEN PREY a Violent Crime Spree Chase Across the South

Golden Prey by John Sandford is the latest title in the crime thriller series that features main character Lucas Davenport. Lucas has been a long time Minnesota state police investigator. But he's got a new job now: as a U.S. Marshal on the hunt for wanted federal fugitives.

A new case takes Lucas south to Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama. A pair of redneck robbers stole millions from a drug cartel house, killing five people in the process. The cartel wants its money back and the rednecks dead. They send a ruthless hit man and a vicious torture queen to get the job done, leaving a bloody trail in their wake.

Lucas Davenport gets caught in the middle of it all, working to hunt down the redneck robbers, aided by a mismatched pair of Marshals named Bob and Rae, while trying to protect new victims from the cartel killers' torture/murder spree.

Golden Prey is a gripping read, racing across a rural Southern landscape through a chain of violent action scenes toward an epic showdown gun battle near the Texas/Mexico border. Once again, John Sandford shows why he belongs at the top of the crime thriller genre.