If At First You Don’t Succeed, Die, Die Again

I’ve been reading Richard Stark’s Parker novels and rereading David Mack’s Kabuki over the last two months or so, so I’ve only just finished Jason Starr’s The Next Time I Die, a book I picked up after Ed Brubaker recommended it in his newsletter.

Jason Starr/Hard Case Crime

I powered through most of the novel last night, after a bout of Achilles tendinitis made sure that I wouldn’t be getting much sleep, and oh man, what a painful night, but oh man, what a damn great read. Starr’s style is one of the easiest I’ve ever seen in any genre. I’m still relatively new to crime novels, so the closest comparison I can think of is Stark’s, but without the same hard edge.

Which is my favourite thing about Starr. That softer approach deceptively conceals layers beneath. He doesn’t spoon-feed you, while also being abundantly clear about what’s going on and who some of these characters really are – and lemme tell you, that is one hell of a balancing act.

I’ve seen a few reviewers talk about how they couldn’t put this bad boy down once they started it and I can concur. Even before The Dreaded Night of Tendinitis, I had to tear myself away from the book a couple of times.

The Next Time I Die is easily one of the most fun books I’ve read of late. If your local bookstore carries it, give it a shot. I’ll definitely be checking out more of Starr’s work after this too.

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