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.
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.