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Our in-house artist's conception of the man who emaled me.

Our in-house artist's conception of the man who emaled me.

Don’t get me wrong.  Here at davidliss.com, we loves us the internet.  If it weren’t for the internet, I’m not sure this web page would have a home.  But there is something about communication on the internet that entices some people to forget to keep their inner jerk on a leash.  Take, for instance, this email I received the other day from a guy who opens his communication to me, a total stranger, with: “I was disappointed in your website.  Too cutesy, too self-serving, insufficiently informative.”   Homeboy goes on to tell me that while he hates my blog, he loves my “prose.”  By this he means my novels, I think, but it’s hard to be sure since my blog is also written almost entirely in prose – so long as you don’t count that brief and unsuccessful flirtation with heroic couplets, which we all agreed was best forgotten.  Finally, Mr. Personality ends with the suggestion that I read his book, but honestly – what are the chances now that he’s insulted me?  I was going to tell you his name so I could discourage you from buying his book, but the legal department here has advised me against it, and you were never going to read his book anyhow, so no worries.

TWWA book you ought to read, however, is Richard Lange’s This Wicked World.  In theory, I love crime novels, but I don’t enjoy them anywhere near as often as I like because crime novels are way too often too much crime, not enough novel.  In other words, like with most genre fiction, writers often forget what readers dig about fiction in the first place – the chance to read about well-drawn, compelling characters.  Lange knows exactly what makes crime fiction work in this story of an ex-con trying to make good in seedy LA.  Needless to say, our protagonist gets caught up in some bad business, and ends up doing some rotten things for good reasons, and mixing with a wide array of vivid, engaging, and often disgusting secondary characters.  The template is a familiar one in many ways, but that’s true of most novels.  The heart of the matter lies in the execution, and This Wicked World is executed brilliantly – reminiscent of Pelecanos at his absolute best.  This gets our strongest recommendation.

And, finally, there’s the insane news that Creation, the biopic about Charles Darwin can’t find a distributor in the US because everyone is afraid of crazy religious wackos going all religious wacko on them.  This movie, after all, tells the story of a guy who popularized a theory that was being widely developed elsewhere — a theory pretty much everyone who lives in the modern world now knows to be scientific fact.  The fact that virtually every biopic ever made sucks seems to be beside the point.

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