His talk and, more important, his fiction, including his current Finch, bring in fantasy, noir and hard-boiled, and why not? The man's all about crossing borders. In Finch, a non-human force has stepped in to occupy the city of Ambergris, rent asunder by civil war between competing merchant families.
Finch, a human, is "asked by the occupiers to solve a difficult double murder" amid the city's seedy underbelly, and if that reminds crime-fiction readers of Philip Kerr, John Lawton, Rebecca Cantrell, J. Robert Janes, David Peace and so on, great. VanderMeer could well get this crime-fiction readers reading fantasy, just as Brian Lindenmuth got me reading comics. Furthermore, VanderMeer cited John Burdett, Colin Cotterill and Derek Raymond among his favorite crime authors, and that prepares me for a richly detailed setting and a dark story for when I read Finch.
VanderMeer also said: "I don't really see any difference between the setting and the character," which endeared him to your humble blogkeeper.
Ruttan's Lullaby for the Nameless has just been released, the third novel in her Nolan, Hart and Tain series, and the triple protagonists are one indication of what she does differently. No surprise, then, that she expresses a certain nostalgia for Ed McBain and the large cast of his 87th Precinct novels. Oh, and the opening of Lullaby for the Nameless focuses as harrowingly and unsparingly on the victim as does any Scandinavian crime writer you'd care to name.
And here's a tantalizing hint of what she may be up to in the future: "I think I'm becoming a little more interested in the subtle crimes we tolerate day to day," italics mine.
© Peter Rozovsky 2009