Monday, November 17, 2014

Reading matters

Open Season (Joe Gunther #1)Open Season by Archer Mayor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had my sister to thank for the suggestion that I might find the Joe Gunther series to my liking. She knows well that I am addicted to 'seriality', never happier than when I can binge-read one book after another. remaining in the company of 'novel-inhabiting persons' who over time become... if not friends... at the very least familiar acquaintances.

Mayor Archer introduces us to his protagonist in the depths of a Vermont winter. The agonizing cold and the white-out blizzards assume almost the role of major actors in the narrative, malign and potentially threatening. Both my sister and I must inevitably recall the exigiencies of such winters from the couple of years when we lived across the border in the state of Maine.

The 'body count' in this first story is quite high, although the writer never leaves us with the impression that gratuitous fatalities have been added simply for shock effect. The structure is that of a police procedural and when I finished the book I imagined Archer satisfied that the plotting he had presumably outlined in detail had been satisfactorily expanded to deliver (for me) four evenings of enjoyable reading.

But then I read his introduction to the second volume in the series, "Borderlines", and it appears that the writer is not a great believer in advance outlining. This I find atone and the same time both alarming and comforting. I have never had the courage to attempt a procedural, feeling happier simply letting my chaaracters tell me their story as the pages mount up... surely not a method which lends itself to tje intricate plotting that a polic procedural calls for.

I must think further about this as I follow the subsequent adventures of Joe Gunther.

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