Monday, July 21, 2008

Stay-Up-Late Reading

Last night I stayed up late to finish this book: RED LIGHTS, by Georges Simenon. It's as much a psychological exploration as it is a suspense tale, but Simenon really kept me--well, not on the edge of my seat, since I was lying on my tummy, but AWAKE until the end of the book. (And that is a feat that is harder and harder to accomplish). :)

The story begins when Steve Hogan and his wife Nancy are getting into their car to pick up their children from camp. It's dark on the road, and Steve is distracted by the lights on the highway and by his strong desire for a drink (he had two before he started). On the radio they hear of the predicted fatalities for the weekend, because it's a holiday. Steve eventually stops at a bar, against his wife's wishes, and hears that a man has escaped from prison.

The more Steve drinks the more he wants a drink, and when he stops at yet another bar his wife, who has been arguing with him, tells him that if he goes in,she will drive on without him. Maliciously (and drunkenly), Steve takes the keys from the ignition and goes in. He drinks more whiskey, and when he comes out, his wife is gone . . .

This is the first Simenon I've read (I might have read a couple of Maigret novels in high school) and I was impressed. I may have to see if there's a biography of this writer--or if you know, drop me a line.

5 comments:

Eric Mayer said...

Simenon is one of my favorite writers. His Maigret mysteries are largely psychological. Don't know about bios but I enjoyed his autobiography - When I Was Old.

Oddly, Simenon for a long time lived on a boat like my favorite detective Travis McGee.

Julia Buckley said...

Eric,

I'll look that up--according to the intro by Anita Brookner, he started dictating memoirs when he turned seventy. She wrote that he, also like Travis McGee, often took time off from writing books for sexual escapades. :)

©Hotbutton Press said...

Simenon is quite a character... I'm sure the Wikipedia article will embellish. ;) I've read most of the Maigrets and must say the film series based on the books is quite good, too. Most libraries carry those videos.

Julia Buckley said...

See? I didn't even know there was a film series. I must check this out.

©Hotbutton Press said...

Tell me if you like them... but, be forewarned, some of the subject matter is not kid-oriented.