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12:43 p.m. - Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2003
In the Inky Shadows . . .
...of the pre-dawn darkness (much of my life takes place in the pre-dawn darkness) (blame my two-hour commute) I had just started up State Rd. 51 when a dot of white light flashed down the northern sky and disappeared. It was a meteor; I'd never seen such a bright one. Hard to just distance, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if what was left of it came through somebody's roof on the south side of Chicago, or knocked a hole in a boat on Lake Michigan.

I'd like to believe that means something. Aren't you supposed to make a wish when you see a falling star? I couldn't collect my wits enough to do more than say, "Woooo! that was a big one!"


So I finished Dialogues of the Dead by Reginald Hill. Towards the end, as the action was building, I was thinking to myself, "Impossible! It can't be! Is this thing really going to climax with a goddamn damsel-in-distress scenario? Is Reginald Hill really capable of such an atrocity? He must be losing his touch." Turns out he's NOT losing his touch. I won't give away the ending, but he's not losing his touch.

Not that I would care that much if someone had given away the ending to me. It would have spared me a few moments of fearing that my hero had grown clay feet, but beyond that I wouldn't care. I read whodunits for the quality of the writing more than for the mystery. I'm not one of those people who tries to figure out who done it before the author gives it away: I never have the SLIGHTEST IDEA. I think I like mysteries because the genre requires the author to develop a plot; I can't stand novels that don't have a plot. You know, the kind where the people start out being hip and disaffected, then drive to Phoenix and are hip and disaffected in Phoenix. Those goddamn things bore me to death.

And that is the literary review for today, children.


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