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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
A Master Stylist on Display
Back in the good old days, when we were a nation of readers, a writer generally wrote fiction of various kinds. You had literary writers such as John P. Marquand writing the Mr. Moto mysteries, and you had western writers such as Zane Grey writing inspirational books for boys.
Today, most writers are expected to write the same sort of book again and again, sometimes for an entire career. I personally give up on most series around book seven because the writer generally runs out of fresh ideas. I do the same as a writer.
Time to move on to something else. It's fun to see how many numbers or letters of the alphabet you can rack up, I suppose, but it's too much like making McDonald's hamburgers.
Thank God for writers such as Stuart Kaminsky.
He writes the Toby Peters mysteries set in Hollywood in the '40s. He writes the Abe Leiberman contemporary Chicago mysteries. He writes stand-alone suspense novels. He's even started a new private-eye series.
And he writes the wonderful Porfiry Rostnikov mysteries set in today's Russia. The latest, Fall of a Cosmonaut, is a masterpiece of plotting, style, irony, and general literary hell-raising. A cosmonaut leaves word aboard the Mir space station (what a great idea!) that Rostnikov is to be contacted if anything happens to him or the mission -- and now the spaceman is missing.
Then there's the movie director whose film negatives are stolen by a blackmailer; and some truly violent murders at an institute for paranormal research -- and a whole lot of other stuff, too, all played out against today's fractious and scary Russia. Played out with humor, sorrow, and great compassion for the foibles of this lumbering, aimless country.
Though he's won the Edgar, been praised by virtually all of his colleagues, and sells books at an enviable rate, Kaminsky's never quite gotten his due for his mastery of plot and social observation. This new novel should go a long way toward correcting that. Writing all these different kinds of books keeps him fresh for each new project.