Friday, April 4, 2014
The Big Goodbye by Michael Lister (Pulpwood Press, 2011)
The Big Goodbye is a hardboiled, noir, PI story set during the Second World War era in Florida. Lister keeps the writing snappy and the pace high as the main character, one-armed Jimmy Riley helter-skelters blindly from one situation to the next as he tries to work out what is happening with respect to his old girlfriend. The plot is strength of the book, with a nice mix of feints and twists. However, the storytelling tries a little too hard to create a particular style and atmosphere, the characters often verge on caricatures, and a consequence of pace is an underplaying of sense of place and historical contextualisation - it’s all about the puzzle and the relationship between Riley and Lauren. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable read, especially if you like hardboiled noir.