Dead Girl Blues by Lawrence Block [7/10]

Lawrence Block is a master at what one might call philosophical noir, dark thrillers that hinge on explorations of the mysteries of good and evil and human motivations. “Dead Girl Blues,” Block’s first full-length work for a number of years, launches with a gut-wrenching tale of evil, and then settles into an ooze of tension: will justice prevail or will evil recur or is there another available path? Written in a voice at once deadpan and endlessly reflective, the tale ratchets up tension not through action but through dialogue (and Block is superb at this) and rumination. In the end, I was not sure whether “Dead Girl Blues” resolved satisfactorily, and part of the philosophical heft of the book is just that quandary. In conclusion, not typical noir at all, not a pell-mell thriller, but a slow-burn, tense read best savoured.

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