Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: "The Crime Of Our Lives" by Lawrence Block

Noted crime writer, author, and much more, Lawrence Block avoids writing book reviews. He also prefers to write, if he is going to, about those authors that have departed. He explains why and more in the first section titled “Before We Begin” of The Crime of our Lives. While he won’t write reviews, he will write introductions to books which is what most of this book consists of— many of the various introductions he has written over the years.

After that beginning, which is basically an interesting forward, the author explains how the whole writing thing began all those many years ago in “My Life In Crime.” Along with explaining his past, Mr. Block goes on to consider the past of the mystery field and well as how he sees things today. In essence, he gives a sort of “the state of the mystery” and finds our union to be in very good shape.

That section segues into a detailed list of his sixteen favorites. As mentioned before, if you made his list it means that not only were you an author (a good thing), you are most certainly dead (not such a good thing). You may not be a deceased parrot, but you are most certainly dead. (gratuitous Monty Python reference.) For each of the sixteen authors listed, Mr. Block has a few paragraphs covering a favorite book or two and why they made the cut beyond being dead and all. While the list it is something to aspire to in a future updated version of the book, it certainly is not something one wishes to rush into considering the consequences.

Then it is on to the introduction that Lawrence Block wrote for various books over the years. The introductions not only reference the book it was written for, but put the work and author into context through a variety of means and mediums. The result is a book of introductions that serve, if you will, as a crash course in movies, books, and history over the years that every mystery/crime reader should be aware of. In fact, the same can be said for the entire book.

One could easily develop quite the reading list, a movie list, and a couple of other lists based on the inferences and works cited in The Crime Of Our Lives. While some of the authors mentioned in the introduction section are still alive and producing new works such as Mary Higgins Clark, Ed Gorman, among others, the majority of the authors mentioned are no longer with us. Fortunately, their books still are so, after you read this one, you have a lot of reading and watching to do.

The Crime Of Our Lives
Lawrence Block
March 2015
E-Book (also available in print)
221 Pages

In recent months I have been very honored to receive unsolicited e-book review copies of the author’s work. Such is the case here as I received this some time back for my use in an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015


Earl Staggs said...

Kevin, I would enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of Mr. Block so I'll have to consider this one. Thanks for the heads up.

Don Coffin said...

I enjoyed TCOOL a lot. One thing a reader should be prepared for--given that the book consists of reprints of things published at various times and in a wide range of places--is that there is a fair amount of repetition. But a very, very good book.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I did not think there was that much repetition all things considered. Definitely some and I was not surprised by that.