Saturday 19 April 2008

The real mystery here is the pseudonym

I think I've read 4 mystery novels in my entire life, with Thomas King's The Red Power Murders being the 4th. I know pretty much nothing about the genre so in that regard, I can't comment on the quality of King's book. I can say, however, that when compared to other books of King's I've enjoyed (Green Grass, Running Water and One Good Story That One are among my favourite books of all time), The Red Power Murders isn't quite there.

There were hints and suggestions of the brilliant weirdness that I so love about King but there just wasn't enough of it. Also, King knows how to rock the hilarious and compelling conversation (check out his radio show, The Dead Dog Cafe sometime) but the main character here, Thumps, spent most of the book just thinking things through about past events (and being cold - apparently solving murders doesn't pay for winter coats). Nonetheless, it was a pretty good read - just not a show-stopping number like my other King favourites.

What's most curious to me about this book is the fact that it and DreadfulWater Shows Up (another mystery) were originally published under the nom de plume of Hartley GoodWeather. Given King's fame (at least in Canada), I'm not sure why he would do this. As you can see from the cover above it didn't last long and reprints soon revealed it was King behind the persona. Was he testing Canadian readers to see if they could handle having more than 2 popular native writers at a time? If so, they apparently couldn't and King dropped the pseudonym faster than the fastest simile-maker in the world. (I really tried to come up with some hilarious simile there but I'm just too tired. Plus, I just watched Alien vs. Predator on TV and it destroyed all my brain cells. Or gawd destroyed all my brain cells in retribution for enjoying it. Or the fact that I watched and enjoyed Alien vs. Predator implies that the brain cells were already fried and that this attempt to write something hilarious were already destined to fail. This is a philosophical conundrum I don't think I can solve right now.)

Okay, maybe it's time to go sleep. I hope that my brain starts working again soon. Brain. Brain. What is brain?

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