Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Review of Easy Streets by Bill James (2004, Countryman Press)
Easy Streets is the twenty first tale in the Harpur and Iles series. It’s the first one I’ve read and I’m not sure it was the ideal introduction. The start felt like joining an on-going conversation and it took a little time to work my way into the story. In fact, the whole tale felt like an episode of a long running television show; more a snapshot into a much longer narrative than a fully-formed, self-contained story. The tale is told from a handful of perspectives: that of the shady, seedy cops, Iles and Harpur, and the upwardly mobile criminals, Mansel Shale and Panicky Ralph Ember. Where it excels is with respect to the dialogue in which characters can often be talking past one another as they ignore what the other has to say, and it is often darkly comic. Overall, however, whilst interesting, it lacked a strong hook that would shift it from crime soap opera to something more substantial.