In his second crime novel, William Landay weaves together the story of three brothers, the death of their policeman father, Boston’s urban renewal projects, and the Boston Strangler. It’s Boston in 1963. Kennedy has just been assassinated. Real estate developers are bulldozing Boston’s West End to put up shiny new towers. A mob war is being waged. The Boston Strangler is terrifying the city.
If this sounds interesting, you can read chapter 1 of The Strangler online.
I need to let you know that Bill (yeah, I know him as Bill) is a friend. Our sons went to the same preschool. We have been to each others’ homes and countless kids’ birthday parties. And if you buy his book through one of the links in this post I get a very small commission from Amazon.
I thought it was great book. You see see the flow of violence and changes to the city of Boston through the eyes of the three brothers: Ricky, the burglar; Michael, the lawyer; and Joe, the cop. The story gets complicated as all you jump around through the eyes of the brothers and the backdrop of criminal activity.
The crime is not just in the background. Joe, the cop, is a bad gambler who gets behind on his debts and starts working for the bad guys. In the first chapter, Ricky steals some jewelry from a hotel room at the Copley Plaza Hotel.
The Boston underworld in the book is a brutal place. It may be too violent for some readers. Just as violent is the destruction of the physical city as 46 acres of homes and small businesses in the West End are bulldozed to make way for a handful of residential high rises.
You also may have noticed from the picture that I read The Strangler on my new Kindle. This is the first book that I’ve read on the device and I’m not sure how much that influenced the reading experience. I really like the portability of the device. It’s lightweight, easy to carry and easy to hold. I also like that it dedicated to reading, so it doesn’t have Twitter, Facebook, email and all the distractions that would come with an iPad. I can focus on the reading.
I think Bill would appreciate a device without distractions. He just finished writing his third book using an AlphaSmart Neo. That allows him to focus on writing, without all the distractions he would get a full blown laptop.
The Strangler marks the 22nd book I’ve read in 2010. (I am continuing on my quest to finish 52 books for the year.) Next up is Sleepless, a novel by Charlie Huston.