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May 11, 2018

4

Crime Fiction: Too Easy

by N@ncy

 

Review:

STRONG POINT:  Stella is not perfect….she bends the law when it is necessary!

STRONG POINT: J.M. Green writes in the first person and that offers the reader all the internal wit, the wisecracks and asides that hard-boiled Stella Hardy dishes out! Now Stella can tell the reader what she REALLY thinks. Stella’s description of Felicity is a lively mental image:

INNER DIALOGUE: Felicity answers phone at Brophy’s art gallery  Stella: “Formal register, posh accent. Young. Voice had a whip-sting of condescension….the ‘transcendental’ model. My reptilian instincts licked the air.” Who did she think she was? We’re in a creative peak. The nerve of her. “…the room swam in red mist and my heart burned black!”

WEAK POINT: If I had any problem with this novel, it was very difficult to maintain my focus with so many subplots. I think a crime fiction book shines when it evokes a single emotional response…the feeling of suspense… pretty much non-stop.
Stella vs family – relationship with mother, sister, brother-in-law, brother and two nephews. The conflict about selling the Hardy farm stuck out like a sore thumb in a drug/gangster crime fiction novel! The scenes felt boring, flat, choppy and lacking spark. In my opinion this subplot could have been eliminated without affecting the plot!
Stella vs Felicity: girlfight – Stella is not standing by and let the ‘harpy’ (Felicity) take over his (boyfriend) life! “Game on, Felicity, I said to myself as I picked up a puri and cracked its head open.”

WEAK POINT: The author attempts some sort of contemporary realism with too many references to pop-culture ( movies, soundtracks, synth-band etc). USA folk punk band Voilent Femmes (ch 4-19), Karen Carpenter ‘Superstar’ (ch 19-50), The Big Lebowski (ch 15), Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (ch 30) and movie Blood Diamond (ch 7-12-15-31-44), Cool Hand Luke (ch 41) Human League 1977 British synth-band (ch 34-35-48), soundtrack harmonica in Morricone riff (ch 31), music Amy Whitehouse (ch 44) movie Crouching Tiger, HIdden Dragon (ch 44). I’m sure she wanted to fill out the fictional details of Stella’s world in Melbourne but in the end it just became irritating. Less is more.

WEAK POINT:  55  chapters…is this really necessary in a crime fiction novel? There are many chapters with a long scene that could have been explained in a few sentences in the previous  chapter. Examples: Grocery shopping in exotic store and an impromtu telephone call from Afshan and Shahid  (in Australia on temporary protective visa) about bowling in “Funky Town” amusement parlour…it felt like ‘filler’.

 

Conclusion:

  1. I don’t read many crime fiction books so all
  2. the weak and strong points are
  3. based on my personal preferences.
  4. I started off thinking this could be a book I loved.
  5. J.M. Green’s her writing style drew me in immediately.
  6. As time went on, the story  seemed to slow down
  7. …veered off in to many subplots.
  8. I began to lose rather than gain interest.
  9. J.M. Green address social issues:
  10. Biker gang Corpse Flower’s gambit grooming children (literally)
  11. …as drug mules on the Burma/China border (Kengtung) and
  12. …selling the organs of homeless Melbourne street children.
  13. Theme: “The powerless seeking justice was a
  14. …time-consuming, soul-destroying business.”
  15. I did enjoy the book but it could have been shorter.
  16. I did learn some Australian slang….
  17. Last Thoughts;
  18. Loved this book for its sense of ‘Melbourne’. J.M. Green took me through the shadows and streets of Footscray, Thornbury, Sunshine, Kew East, Maribyrnong. Norlane, St Albans, Noble Park, Clayton, Hughesdale, Keysborough, Braybrook, Seddon, Caroline Springs.
    I learned that there is Australian whiskey Corio Five Star! I just found that there was too much going on in Stella’s life. If you read the book be prepared for a conclusion that left me thinking: “This reminds me of a ‘showdown at the OK-Corral…30 second shootout between the lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws!”

AUSTRALIAN SLANG: “…An evening of claptrap with this ditsy nong” (Felicity)  nong = a stupid or incompetent person.  “I dropped a lobster on the table.” AUS twenty-dollar note is sometimes called a “lobster” in reference to its distinctive pink colour. “As exits went it was rip, shit and bust. =  with extreme vigour and enthusiasm

AUSTRALIAN SLANG: “Grouse”  = word heard mostly in Australia’s 2nd largest city, Melbourne meaning something wonderful, amazing.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. a ‘lobster’ you say? don’t think I have heard that one.

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    • May 12 2018

      Loved this book for its sense of ‘Melbourne’. J.M. Green took me through the shadows and streets of Footscray, Thornbury, Sunshine, Kew East, Maribyrnong. Norlane, St Albans, Noble Park, Clayton, Hughesdale, Keysborough, Braybrook, Seddon, Caroline Springs.
      I learned that there is Australian whiskey Corio Five Star! I just found that there was too much going on in Stella’s life. If you read the book be prepared for a conclusion that left me thinking: “This reminds me of a ‘showdown at the OK-Corral…30 second shootout between the lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws!” Thanks for you comments!

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      Reply
  2. May 19 2018

    Not many people call a $20 note a lobster IMO, but perhaps it’s a Melbourne thing. We certainly tease our Victorian cousins with their constant use of grouse! The Darwin cousins tend to use ‘ace’ in the same way.

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