Friday, July 18, 2008

Old Friends

#28 -- "The Burglar on the Prowl" by Lawrence Block

Back in college, I spent a couple unscheduled days, broke and broken-down, in a rough part of Albuquerque. I didn't drink at the time, and most of my possessions were in the car in the mechanic's, so I stayed in my hotel room with one book: "The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams," by Lawrence Block. Having nothing else to do, I read it three straight times, cover to cover. It didn't get old.

Since then, I've always been a Bernie Rhodenbarr fan, though I haven't paid much attention in recent years. I picked this up recently for a quick read, and it's still fun. At first I found it enjoyable but not as funny as I found the books some years ago; by the end, though, I was laughing out loud pretty frequently.

If you're one of the people who likes to be able to figure out a mystery while you're reading it, you're screwed. Half the crucial characters don't appear until the end. And if you've read any of the previous novels, you'll recognize the formula (even if it's been some years).

No matter, for me at least. I had a blast, and it was fun to reacquaint myself with Bernie and the supporting characters after a decade or so. I may follow suit with the other Block series I loved, the Matthew Scudder novels. Or just go back and read "Ted Williams" three more times.

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