4.17.2007

Drive by James Sallis

How I missed reading this guy I do not know.
Drive by James Sallis is simply amazing.
Read it.
Then read it again.

If you don't admire this book, quit reading my blog.

18 comments:

Scott said...

Thanks. It sounds like something I read on my own anyway. I'm trusting you on this one...

mhanlon said...

If you haven't, for whatever reason, approached the Lew Griffin series (The Long-Legged Fly, Moth, Black Hornet, Eye of the Cricket, Bluebottle, Ghost of a Flea) you are missing an incredible detective/mystery-ish series.

I dove into it, unsuspecting, thinking I was getting a bog standard mystery... all I can say, and could say, after finishing the first book, is/was "Wow." It made me a very boring conversationalist for a few weeks afterwards.

I've been lucky enough to read an advance copy of his new collection of short stories (Potato Tree), which is good, as well, though no where near as good as the Lew Griffin set. He's an impressive writer.

Heidi the Hick said...

Not only is that first sentence gripping, but it's in future tense. Wow.

Mark said...

But a 158 page novel? That's very short and if I submitted such a manuscript it would be rejected on that alone. Hell, I'm embarassed to have nonfiction that short. I suspect that's why a mainstream press didn't publish it. And yes I'm aware of poison Pen.

takoda said...

Sounds great. I'm going to read it. But all of Miss Snark's noir recommendations are keeping me from reading the classics in my own writing genre-children's fiction. Is it possible to go from "The Secret Garden" to "Drive?" Will I find myself writing noir children's fiction?

hmm..

Welshcake said...

Mark said: "But a 158 page novel? That's very short and if I submitted such a manuscript it would be rejected on that alone. Hell, I'm embarrassed to have nonfiction that short."

What's wrong with short fiction? Great fiction is often short. The Pearl, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm to name a few.

Mark said...

I'm afraid classics are an unfair comparison. This "ain't" then.

Ryan Field said...

This looks like something I'd never read. But whenever someone recommends something like this, and I do read it, most of the time I wind up liking it. I wouldn't have read Brian Morton's WINDOW ACROSS THE RIVER, but I did and loved it.

Anonymous said...

This is quite an interseting link about shorter fiction:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/top10s/top10/0,,2053925,00.html

jnr said...

he's been writing great stuff since the early seventies. i still remember the first short story of his i read--'jim and mary g'. haunting.

(reprinted in the anthology 'opening shots,' if anyone's curious. the anthology reprints a lot of interesting mystery writers' first published short stories.)

Written said...

Winter's Bone and Ellen Foster were both short.

Conduit said...

I too am curious about the length of this novel. I've read several agents saying they've rejected queries purely because of a short (or conversely, long) word count. For instance, I had a dig back through Rachel Vater's blog, and in one of those fascinating posts where she gives a list of instant rejects she says "9. This one’s a query for a 30,000 word novel."

This book is about 30,000 words, which I would have thought to be novella length. I'm guessing the book must be spectacular to get past that hurdle, but a qustion for Miss Snark - how often would a query for a novel so short be read past that number? Wouldn't many agents drop it right there? Under what circumstances would an agent move past an unusual word count to look at the actual quality of the writing?

Ann(ie) said...

Holy crap, that looks awesome. My next book-glom, I may get his whole backlist.

Saipan Writer said...

Dear Miss Snark,

Sounds as if you are highly recommending this book! I haven't read it yet. I'm not sure I will, since I don't usually read/enjoy noir. I take it from you and many of the comments here and on Amazon that the writing is fantastic. I believe you.

But it also sounds as if you will "brook no dissent," allow for no discussion of personal taste. Isn't there always room for an intelligent conversation about differences of opinion? Isn't possible that a highly esteemed literary expert might NOT admire this book? Or that a person whose opinion deserves respect (perhaps just because they are a human being) might not like this book?

Are the only people who can learn and profit from your blog those who must agree with you in all respects? or at least as to your taste in this particular book?

Really, I love the snark. I've learned a lot here. But telling readers that they should get out if they don't agree with you about a particular book--well, I wonder about that.

Anonymous said...

I signed with a top agent, and my manuscript is 52K words. Most of Ken Bruen's novels clock in at around 40K. Lots of other examples...

I'm not for sure, but I would guess The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (this year's Pulitzer winner) is around 60K.

It's not the size of the sword, but the swordsmanship that counts.

Mark said...

"I signed with a top agent, and my manuscript is 52K words."

Right. And it appears you're also shy. It's short. To be specific, the length of many vanity press "novels."

Anonymous said...

I'm not shy, Mark. I'm writing anon here as a courtesy to my agent.

My book went out to several major New York houses this week. Two bestselling authors have already offered to blurb it. Believe me, I have no interest in self-publishing.

Caren said...

Thanks a million for recommending this book! I couldn't put it down (the sunburn is my fault, though, I should've noticed when the sun came out!). Even if my habit wasn't to re-read Chapter 1 of every book I like, I would've with Drive. It's not often I'm trusted so deeply to follow an author -- now I'll follow Sallis anywhere. Yesterday, it was to Powell's to buy his first two Lew Griffin novels. When I work my way through his list to Drive, I'll buy it this time & read it again.
I'd forgotten how much I love noir, & Salls is a man after my minimalist heart.
Thanks!