Just finished Ken Bruen’s Calibre, and I’m not sure what to conclude, beyond that I liked it. It’s certainly an easy read — stripped-down, lean and mean, slick as polished steel. And I’m pretty sure it will be the shortest book I’ve read all year — although I do have Ammunition waiting on the bedside table.
Maybe it’s because I’ve lately been reading authors who tend to the other extreme, but it’s almost as though Bruen has invented a new class of book here — the crime novel for people who don’t have time for crime novels. I guess those were called novellas, back in the day. His characters are perhaps too economically drawn; their motivations lean too heavily toward untroubled self-interest; their dialog comes in glittering little shards, sharp enough to put an eye out. I’ve heard some describe Bruen’s stuff as hardboiled, but it seems almost too cheerful for that.
I’ll try a few more — I’m particularly interested in American Skin — but my verdict on this one: It’s not quite as filling as I’d like. It’s a cup of strong coffee and a donut as opposed to a dinner. And probably not the kind of book I’m going to be thinking about much later than today.