Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moe Prager

So I've been reading more of the Moe Prager series of books by Reed Farrel Coleman. I met Reed at a wedding, but I'd never read any of his books.
I'm reading The James Deans now. And it's just another terrifically well - written book. The idea in the books, about a Jewish private investigator, is just brilliant. The relationship Moe has with his brother, with his Catholic wife, with people from Brooklyn, is all about things like the relationship of Jewishness to American-ness and intellectuals and the working - class and... well it's about so much stuff it's impossible to write a short essay about it. But the important thing is that it's all in the form of brilliantly hard-boiled detective fiction. But you know, Jewish hard-boiled detective fiction.
Now with all that said the following might seem maudlin but it's not. The stories don't hit you over the head with their themes. I thought this was awesome. The book is written in the first person and at one point the protagonist is given a Star of David and a .25 automatic by a Holocaust survivor (right? I know).

"I couldn't help touching the star. It had been so long since I'd worn one that it felt odd against my chest, even a little uncomfortable. A little discomfort was a good thing, I thought. It made you pay attention. On the other hand I had almost forgotten about the pistol tucked in my jacket pocket. Strange, the things you get used to."

I don't know who his editor is, or if he does that work himself, but Coleman is a helluva writer.

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