Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Rough Stuff

Enjoyed a walk to Holland Village and back in the late morning, early afternoon, which suggests I didn't do too much damage to this aging frame of mine yesterday. Was pleased to discover that not only is the old shopping centre still there but there appear to be signs it might survive the on-going frenzy for getting rid of old Singapore and replacing it with buildings of ferocious modernity and ugliness. A big shop in the building that recently disappeared has suddenly reappeared and the little second hand bookshop that does rentals that never quite shut down looks like it's re-establishing its shelves and stock.

If so, this is particularly timely for this reader as I've been thinking of consciously upping the amount of popular fiction I consume this year, especially on the 'murder' front. When I was in Edinburgh in December I found myself quite embarrassed over the fact that I was so unfamiliar with the work of her favourite son, (of recent times, that is) Ian Rankin. I toyed with buying the first of the Rebus novels whilst we were there, but for some reason, which I now regret, decided not to, and have since sought for it in vain on these shores.

Anyway, today I came away with cheap copies of Stephen King's Mr Mercedes and Balance of Power by Richard North Patterson. Patterson's No Safe Place, featuring the key characters from Balance of Power, is one of my favourite 'best seller' reads of all time and I can't quite figure out why I've never read further into his oeuvre - so now I'll put that a little bit right. But I must admit I just had to read the opening of the King and immediately got hooked (and this despite having a pretty good idea what Mr Mercedes is all about from a fairly negative treatment of the little series of which it marks the beginning in a recent NYRB.)

On the serious lit front I just finished Ian McEwan's collection of shorts Between The Sheets. I reckon about a third of the stories therein really worked, another third were pretty interesting and the final third creaked beyond redemption. And now I'm off back to the grisly events in Mr King's little offering, which I suspect will deliver one hundred per cent pure enjoyment, to this reader at least.

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