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Starred Review. Gould's precise diction, which proved to be surprisingly effective in his narration of Raymond Chandler's works, is just as satisfying in interpreting Spiegelman's new John March novel. And why not? Spiegelman has come closer to channeling Chandler than just about any other private eye writer in recent memory. March has a mindset and honor system remarkably similar to Chandler's Philip Marlowe. These are sleuths who use their brains along with their muscles, and Gould's careful enunciation reflects that. Through March's first-person narration, we walk the cold, sleet-slippery mean streets looking into the murder of a beautiful and promiscuous young woman. Gould creates an impressive lineup of characters: dumbing down his voice to become a lovesick bruiser, catching the hollow bravado of an actor in midlife crisis or adding a touch of East Coast snobbery to an assortment of quiet money types. Red Cat is a solid, stylishly written crime yarn, and Gould's interpretation turns it into a near-classic.
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The third entry in the John March series will provide a satisfying meal for any fan of Manhattan PI novels. In fact, Spiegelman stakes a strong claim to Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder turf (although it is to be hoped Scudder won't cede that territory soon). This time out, the stoic and savvy March must track down brother David's most recent mistress before she follows through on her threat to confront David's wife. For a man who spurned his family's august investment firm to become a detective, it's a hard assignment to swallow--especially with the churlish David constantly shoving March's black-sheep status down his throat. Throw in March's relationship with a married woman who doesn't appreciate his questions about why spouses cheat, and the tension couldn't be much thicker--until his brother's fling gets flung into a river with five slugs in her face, that is. Her intriguing, disturbing backstory gives Spiegelman a chance to revisit a favorite theme: the severe damage family members can inflict on each other in a seemingly endless dance. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.