Death, judgement, heaven, and hell
“Contemporary crime fiction is rather like Africa in the last century – a dark continent, full of unexplored mysteries. ” This quote, by the author himself, encapsulates the essence of his own writing. Over the past year, Andrew Taylor has become a favorite author of mine, for the tautness of his plots, the pithy nature of his prose, and most importantly, for his ability to first develop his central characters and then to commingle their fates. To accomplish this in one novel is remarkable. To do so in a series such as the Roth Trilogy is exceptional, and it is not hyperbole to say that his novels transcend genre. Taylor has mastered the art of building atmosphere and tension, revealing bits and secrets of each character’s personality chapter by chapter. Some elicit empathy from the reader, and others, revulsion. But none are perfect, and it is in the way that their choices impact one another that their mutual though unconscious complicity results in the crime. The Four Last Things exemplifies this power. Somber, deeply disturbing, but ultimately satisfying. And the biggest shock is the final line of the final chapter.
First rate, intelligent fiction, highly recommended.