When I prepare for my NRO podcasts with book authors, I don’t always have time to read their books. I definitely study their books: I try to gain enough knowledge about what they’re saying to carry the Q part of a ten-minute Q&A.
This week’s podcast is with Robert Crais. His new crime thriller is The First Rule. And I read the whole thing! Actually, I had not read the whole thing at the time we recorded. But I went on to read it. Crais is an excellent storyteller–a guy whose narrative skill pulls you in and and won’t let go.
I’ve now read three novels by Crais, all within the last year or so: The Monkey’s Raincoat, The Watchman, and The First Rule. The main characters aren’t cops, but these are law-and-order books. There are plenty of mysteries, but not a lot of hand-wringing, brow-furrowing, chin-pulling ethical dilemmas. I find this appealing. A good story can have twists and turns. Yet the world it depicts does not have to become the morass of moral ambiguity that many of our “sophisticated” novelists seem to prefer.
The First Rule is a about the importance of loyalty and family. It’s also about the menace of Eastern European gangs that operate in the United States. There are good guys and bad guys. It’s not that complicated.
Next week’s podcast: Wesley Smith on animal welfare and animal rights.