Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book Review: Charles Ardai, Fifty-to-One (2008)

The fiftieth title from Hard Case Crime is self-indulgently amusing noir lite. Author/publisher Charles Ardai explains the impulse behind Fifty-to-One: "to write a 50th book that would commemorate the (fictitious) 50th anniversary of the founding of Hard Case Crime, set 50 years ago, and to tell the story in 50 chapters, with each chapter bearing the title of one of our 50 books, in their order of publication." What makes this a real challenge, of course, is that each chapter is connected in some to way its title, and Ardai can hardly be blamed for doing what he must with the plot to pull it off. One downside to this template is that Fifty-to-One's required 50 chapters result in 329 pages, which is about 100 pages longer than the book's backflipping gimmickry can hope to sustain. It's a good thing that Ardai got this out of this system now, rather than waiting for Hard Case Crime #100. Grade: C

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