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This Is Life
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About the Author
Seth Harwood, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, was born in Boston and has lived in Cambridge, New York, St. Louis, and Iowa City. He currently lives in San Francisco, where he teaches writing at Stanford and CCSF. Author of three previous works of fiction, Seth has also written for publication in the Cambridge Chronicle & TAB, contributed to the Open Culture blog, and written for the San Francisco Chronicle, where he regularly reviews crime fiction. Marilyn Stasio, reviewing Seth’s debut, Jack Wakes Up, for The New York Times, praised its “vitality and a spirit of rebellion.” George Pelecanos, author and contributor to HBO’s The Wire, named Seth’s second novel, Young Junius, one of the best books of 2010. When he’s not writing or teaching, Seth swims, boxes, and occasionally haunts the basketball courts of San Francisco --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This is no light-hearted caper of an actor trying to live down or up to his screen image; the reader is drawn into a Noir world of betrayal, violently abrupt ends unsettling visions of desperately vulnerable victims of the sex-trade and as hardened and cynical law enforcement officers as you are ever likely to meet, along with the modern archetype villains who by convention are required to be Eastern Europeans.
Written in the present tense third person narrative in the short sentence, paragraph and chapter style it conveys an urgent edgy pace which suits this brutal and unsettling tale.
I can't say I enjoyed the book, I personally found some of the imagery disquieting, but having said that I believe this is what the author was intending to convey and he does this most effectively, so good luck to him!
If you like you detective tales filled with dark and hard, gritty action upon the means streets of the classic American style then I would reckon you'd like this book and maybe want to back track to the previous novel to pick up on some of the nuances. If you have read the first one (which I haven't) I am taking a mighty guess in thinking you may wish to add this to your collection.
Very good offering of its style.
Jack Palms, an actor that is known from a Bruce Willis style action flick where he played police sergeant Mike Haggerty, is involved in his second dangerous case and once again he must work with a contact from the police and an old former NFL star acquaintance. Things, however, are spinning completely out of control when it turns out that there are several different players working against them - from the Russian mafia to the San Francisco police department.
I guess if you take this as a light entertainment thriller chase (not unlike a Bruce Willis movie), the book is ok as it's well paced and easy to read. However, if the concept of an actor, who starred as a police man in one blockbuster movie, can go in and take over an investigation and that the police and FBI would be willing to let him loose like that annoys you, I'd say stay clear and read something else. There are also a fair bit of gratuitous violence in most of the middle part of the book which I found annoying - especially since it wasn't very innovative - he basically seemed to butt a lot of noses.
I finished it, but will not be reading other instalments in this series. Oh, and this is the second book in the series.
It's grim, dark and seedy, with graphic scenes and some notorious "hard man" characterisations. It's not full of cliches and normal crime 101's, so credit to the author must be given for this.
I enjoyed the plot - some twists are there, and the reader is left guessing. It does get a bit movie-star far fetched at times, with some odd physical discrepancies that leave you a bit confused / unconvinced. One moment the star is doubled over in pain from a single punch, the next moment he can take a barrage of assault. I guess it keeps the plot going.
All in all I did enjoy this book, and look forward to the next installment.
Having set up the premise, author Seth Harwood treats us to car chases, gun battles, fights, friendship, betrayal and murder - all written in the present tense - which, at first, made the novel difficult for me to get into. I'm glad I persevered as 'This is Life' is an enjoyable, pacey, if pretty unbelievable, action thriller, though I'm unsure whether I'd go out of my way to read future instalments.
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