The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir (Review) ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir (Review)

While I don't hand out book accolades right and left, I also don't like to judge a book too quickly. I typically give a novel 50 pages to win me over or lose me forever. It really shouldn't take an author 50 pages to hit his stride, but some books do get out of the gate more slowly, right? (J.R.R. Tolkien, I'm looking at you.) It's the rare story that explodes out at you right after the intro.

However, The Night Watchman is one of those books.

A throwback novel in terms of style and motif, Mark Mynheir's The Night Watchman is a convoluted murder mystery with a hard-boiled, down-on-his-luck detective. If you're a fan of film noir or classic murder fiction, you know the recipe: a tough, likable protagonist with a tragic back story tries to overcome big odds to prove his life is still worth living.

The Night Watchman isn't what you call an original, genre-bending work of fiction. But Mynheir does plenty of things very well. He develops his characters carefully. He pulls of his protagonist's tough, wry voice without falling into cliché. He weaves faith into the story without forcing the issue. And he writes a first chapter that's impeccably timed and yanks you headlong into the story.

If you're looking for a detective story with heart and a good first-person voice, The Night Watchman is well worth your time.



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4 comments:

Sherry said...

Ariel and friends,

I'm doing a Hymn Project this summer ---just because I want to. You can read more about it at this address on my blog: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=5145

But basically, I'm asking you to send me a list of your ten favorite hymns. List these hymns in your order of preference. So your #1 hymn would be the one you feel is the best, and so on. I will be giving your first choice 10 points, your second choice 9 points, and so on. Submit your list to me at sherryDOTearlyATgmailDOTcom. Write “Hymn Survey” in the subject line.

If you like, you can submit a justification for each hymn. Or you can send me a link to an audio or video version online. Include the name of the hymn’s author or lyricist and the composer of the melody you prefer if at all possible, especially if you think I might be unfamiliar with your particular hymn. At the beginning of June I will tally up the totals, and I will pull from the submitted pieces why one reader or another liked a particular hymn (naming the reader, of course). That way we’ll be able to hear from a whole bunch of people why they love one hymn or another. I will then count down from 100 to 1 on my blog over the course of the summer the top choices of what folks feel the best hymns of all time are.

PLEASE SEND YOUR LIST RIGHT AWAY IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE. The deadline is Sunday, May 31st.

Angie said...

Hi! I’ve subscribed to your blog ever since your NCAA tournament posts last year. I enter a bracket in an office pool every year and I came in third this year. It's interesting reading your picks, even though I go with my own choices.

Anyway, thanks for the book recommendation! I’m a big murder mystery buff and I added the above to my books-to-read list. I also noticed you’re on LibraryThing. I’m on GoodReads, which I like a lot better than LT. You should check it out. If you decide to join, feel free to add me
here.

Ariel said...

Hey Sherry, I'll try and send a list your way. At the very least my top 5.

Angie, thanks for the note! I added you on my GoodReads account, which doesn't get a ton of use, I have to admit. Are you a P.D. James fan? My favorite living mystery writer, second to none.

So who is your NCAA hoops team? If the answer is KU, you have just entered the stratosphere of cool.

Angie said...

Surprisingly, I haven't read anything by P.D. James. I've never been a fan of the Sherlock Holmes. I'm just not into the whole Scotland Yard type of stuff. I had planned on reading Children of Men, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I love apocalypse novels. I'm hoping since I already saw the movie, it won't ruin the book. The authors I regularly read are Jeffery Deaver, Lisa Gardner, James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Harlan Coben, Karin Slaughter and Alex Kava.

I'm afraid I'm not going to win any points in the NCAA category either as I don't necessarily have a favorite team. I was a big MSU fan (still am), but I like to support the local teams--IU, Notre Dame, Purdue, Butler--when they make the playoffs. Love when bracket time comes around!

Anyway, thanks for adding me on GoodReads. I didn't realize you were on it.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife