Coming back to earth from the Nova Scotia-Leo Tolstoi high of last week we slid back into our life of crime novels. Crime and thrills actually, because the better of this weekend’s two reads was The Nearest Exit, the latest spy thriller from the quite estimable Olen Steinhauer. A doozy it was, actually. The man plots as well as anyone writing thrillers these days. And the writing is invisible. When, when, when will literary fictionalists start taking lessons from genre writers? Probably not until the Nobel Prize committee disbands. Until then, there is always the hope of making a million bucks for writing something nobody but the committee will ever read. Maddening. The Nearest Exit stars Milo Weaver and takes up where The Tourist left off. Budapest features. As does Berlin. Excellent.
Betrayers, the latest from the superprolific Bill Pronzini can be read in the bathtub without incurring more than a few wrinkles. The old master interweaves three plots starring three of the employees of the agency where The Nameless Detective hangs his hat. There are few surprises, but it’s as smooth as you would expect.