Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Review: Loisaida

Having previously read The Death Trip, I approached Loisaida with trepidation. I knew I loved Marion Stein’s writing style, but her novella’s ending was unsatisfying: I still had the munchies after what should have been a satisfying snack. Loisaida, though, is a full meal.

Based on a true murder, Loisaida follows an actor-cum-journalist, Peter Teller, who sets out on a quest to solve the murder of Ingrid Hess, a beautiful woman whom he almost picked up just weeks before her death. As Peter’s investigation pulls him further into the underworld of late-80’s New York, this reader could almost feel the hot water starting to boil under Peter’s feet – though Peter, of course, could not.

Ms. Stein’s writing style is, in turns, staccato, lyrical, and enthralling. She switches between points of view with ease and clarity and her use of present-tense prose was particularly compelling. I found very little wrong with the novel as a whole, despite the author’s somewhat idiosyncratic use of commas. There were a few typos and misspellings as well, but not enough to cause irritation.

With plenty of savory scenes and meaty characters, this gritty-city novel deserves more attention than it has gotten thus far. I truly admire this author’s skill with the written word and can only hope that she will cook up another novel soon.

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