Corey Lynn Fayman's new Rolly Water's crime novel, "Border Field Blues" has a low down swampiness to it that allows you to slip instantly into the worlds depicted. The story moves along at a clip, I imagine, the author designed to keep the reader fully engaged in the action. Weird, perfect touches abound: warped working girls; a sadistic seeming orderly (boy how I love that invention); garage band struggles; a bird preserve terrorized by vandals.
All great stuff, but for this reviewers money, the works greatest achievement is how it leaves you feeling the air the characters breathe, knowing the terrain scoped out between the pages. Mr. Fayman just may be the first ever hybrid built from the styling’s of Carl Hiaasen, Raymond Chandler, Eric Burdon in his early animals days, and the brilliant throbbing of Los Lobos, a strange combination, certainly. The luck of fans of this type of fiction is that finally, as if it were inevitable, such a thing has arrived.
Part of the delightful relief here is coming across a writer who has created a Private’s Eye that is not a stone cold cliché. "Border Field Blues" is full of dangerous turns and criminal situations. Rolly must contend with the underworld, personal problems, the police (a quite excellent characterization of a police detective is rendered here in the form of Bonnie Hammond).
It is all fare that may sound familiar to lovers of Chandler's Philip Marlowe. But there are twists and quirks to this story that are completely fresh and new. A healthy chunk of my joy in experiencing the book was in coming across these things while turning the pages. Because of that, I won't give too much away--- just know that you will be hit by things that will excite, as well as, thankfully, amuse you.Rolly Water's is a smart man. At times he is a smart aleck. The tone of his inner voice
is spot on for the tale we are told. I am glad, however, he is not a brilliant man. The
common sense he possesses, combined with the human foibles that are a part of his
makeup, let the reader in rather than hold them at bay. It is a very good move on the author's part: the reader is able to sympathize with the main character (feeling they may
be somewhat like him), while acknowledging they would be hard pressed to deal with all
he must in the course of his job. On some level we all wish we were a Rolly Water's, and
are glad we are not.
It is a great story we are let in on in “Border Field Blues.” It is rollicking, frightening and keeps you wondering, “what’s next.” The peripheral characters are often as enjoyable as the main ones. That type of thing is the mark of any good writing. Corey Fayman delivers on that score. His sentences avoid the flowery; they are tight, plain things that build to ear perfect paragraphs.
The dialogue is pitch perfect. Much of what takes place resides in a world of ethnic players; the Mexican flavors herewith in are conjured with such accuracy that you know Fayman knows of what he speaks. Take this book on a bus, on a train. Take it onto your porch or sit on a curb, or by a fence with it. It deserves to be out in the world like that. It tells you of the hard things, fills your head with them. It is real and imaginative and thrilling. I'm glad I had the great good pleasure of reading it.
Border Field Blues: A Rolly Waters Mystery
Corey Lynn Fayman
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (8/13)