I should just stop reading the Crime column in the New York Times Book Review.
This week's, as always written by Marilyn Stasio, included a view of a book that features "the most original amateur sleuth I've come across all year." The character has Asperger's syndrome. He's not named Samuel Hoenig. I'm asking you.
Yes, there is envy in crime fiction, as in every other aspect of life. Now, I haven't read the book in question and don't doubt for a minute that it is very worthy of praise. It might, for all I know, be brilliant. I'm not denying the author anything. But "the most original amateur sleuth" of the year? With Asperger's? Yeah, I'm envious. It's hard not to feel just a little overlooked.
Envy is not an irrelevant thing. It exists in the best of us, and as long as we control it and don't let it govern our actions, I don't really see much wrong with that. Yeah, it's one of the deadly sins or something, but as a practicing atheist that's not one of the dozens of things keeping me awake at night. I think envy helps drive us. Ask a writer which books "inspired" him or her to pick up the word processor, and you're asking which authors they envied. Don't think otherwise.
Does that mean I begrudge any other author any praise, award, contract or reward of any kind? No. I know how hard it is just to be published; anyone who got to that level deserves what they get. But do I see myself in that area, getting those awards or that praise? You bet your butt I do. That might be delusional, but it's a motivator for sure.
On other topics:
Saw the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, over the weekend, and it disappointed badly. Holes in the plot you could pilot a battleship through. Scenes that make no sense at all (lots of people in the dining car at the beginning of the scene, NOBODY there when the fight starts a minute and a half later?). Dialogue that actually embarrasses. "Surprises" that aren't least bit surprising. People surviving things it's not possible to survive. And a score that invites headaches, including a truly dreadful theme song. This after Skyfall, the first in the series I'd liked for a long time. Very disappointing. Hope they shake things up again before the next one.
Also been watching Jessica Jones because our household includes a person who absolutely can't not watch something based on a Marvel comic. This is a 13-episode series with maybe eight episodes of story to tell. Slow moving, most episodes having not much going on until the last 10 minutes. It's getting all sorts of acclaim. It's not bad, but I don't see what the big deal is. No doubt Season 2 is in the works. Hope there's better pacing.
But Spotlight, the story of the reporting at the Boston Globe's reporting on the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, is really good. Great ensemble acting without anyone trying to hog the spotlight (as it were) except Mark Ruffalo just a little. Emphasis on process without melodrama. Very All the President's Men, and well done. My early favorite for Oscar consideration.
And I'm seeing nothing but ads for the new Star Wars because apparently there are three or four people on the planet who don't know it's on its way. My bet: it's going to be annoying. But that's not based on much of anything except guesswork.
By the way: I'll be seeing our very own Cathy Genna tomorrow night at a mystery book club meeting that I totally don't understand at all, but I guarantee it'll be tons of fun! If you're in the central Jersey area and want to join a mystery book club, you might want to ask Cathy about that.
I'll be discussing GHOST IN THE WIND, the book that inspired a review on Amazon reading (I am not making this up) "Haven't read yet." You can't buy that kind of publicity.
If you felt this week's post was a disappointment, you should have read the one I wrote and discarded about guns. Written because I feel deeply about it and discarded because I'm not going to change your mind and you're not going to change mine.