I was intrigued enough by the individual stories of the book, all of which are standalone novels, but as the book progressed I was continually fascinated by the way they all tied together, through the characters as well as various themes. The mystery genre itself becomes a centric point, and in the end The Twenty-Year Death feels like an epic tribute, not only to three iconic writers but also to an entire genre, a literary movement, that's stood the test of time. The Falling Star was my personal favorite; I loved the narrative, which touched on effortless sarcastic wit while still presenting a great dramatic pitch. Foster, the private detective, was a wonderfully crafted character with an edge and humor that called to mind, and accurately so, a Humphrey Bogart type. Malniveau Prison as well was a perfectly stylized, moody and intriguing story with instantly memorable characters and a setting well-suited to the novel. Police at the Funeral felt like suffocating, but in the most intriguing, evocative way; in a way that felt deliberate, to make the reader feel as the narrator feels. It’s difficult to evoke sympathy for the main character, and in lieu of trying to do that I thought Winter managed to tie the reader to his desperation in some way, to make us stick with him until the final scene; it was overwhelmingly well done. Each story grabs hold of the reader and keeps them focused on the current mystery, setting up the perfect surprise when all of the pieces of each individual novel fall into place. It’s a masterful work, and done in the capable hands of a very obviously talented writer.
Ariel S. Winter is also the man behind the blog We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie which focuses on the rediscovery of children’s stories by iconic writers of classic adult works; Winter is called a “literary detective” in his efforts. For a writer to immerse themselves yet further in book-work serves as proof of a true dedication to the magic of literature. Winter again proves his dedication to the importance of a well-told story – multiple well-told stories – in The Twenty-Year Death, where he has created a literary tribute unlike anything before it. This is a highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys good mystery, a touch of noir, and truly creative storytelling.
Title: The Twenty-Year Death Author: Ariel S. Winter Genre: Mystery Publisher: Hard Case Crime (Titan Books) Format: Hardcover Release date: August 7, 2012 Source: Titan Books (C/O) Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Better World Books Connect with the author: Blog | Facebook | Twitter