Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ed Ifkovic

Ed Ifkovic taught literature and creative writing at a community college in Connecticut for more than three decades and now devotes himself to writing fiction.

His new book is Café Europa, his sixth Edna Ferber mystery.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Ifkovic's reply:
One of many delights I have in my occasional lunches with my friend Carole Shmurak, a follow mystery writer, is our discussion of books currently being read. Recently Carole mentioned a book—and, in fact, a writer—I was unfamiliar with. The book was L. A. Requiem, and the author Robert Crais. Somehow this well-regarded novel had gone unnoticed by me—but not for long. Carole’s praise and enthusiasm inspired me to purchase the paperback that very afternoon, and I am now in the middle of reading the novel.

And revelation it is: I know I’ll be devouring all of Crais’ works in short order. It’s a habit formed as a bookish teenager. Whenever I discovered any writer I liked, I’d haunt the public library in town until I’d exhausted every volume on the shelves. Back then, I remember, I’d read George Eliot’s Silas Marner, and proceeded to read everything—including the ponderous book-length poem The Spanish Gypsy—to the point of exhaustion. The librarian even sent home a note to my mother, questioning my insane behavior. I went through Galsworthy, A. J. Cronin, Edna Ferber, and James Michener. And all of Patricia Wentworth’s mysteries! My tackling of the published works of Crais will be a thrill. I can count on that.

L.A. Requiem a fascinating novel, a mystery, true, but more so a complex, intricate novel that explores varying perspectives and plot lines with galvanizing dialogue and terse, breezy prose. Flashbacks in the third person alternate with omniscient points of view. Packed with hard-boiled street jargon in the tradition of, say, James Cain, the novel tackles monumental themes in the guise of being a simple mystery—who murdered troubled partner Joe Pike’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Garcia? Woven into that investigation is a rich, varying tapestry of intrigue, question, and wonder.

The minute I finish reading it I will have to begin reading it again. It’s a primer for any student who picks up a pen to write a novel.
Visit Ed Ifkovic's website.

--Marshal Zeringue