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The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium Series, Book 4) by David Lagercrantz The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Bromkvist are back in book #4 of Stieg Larson's epic series. Learn more | See the Millennium Series
i was amazed to find all of joseph hansen's brandstetter novels in one volume. unfortunately, it's a british import, which seems to indicate that the quintessentially californian hansen is being taken more seriously by the brits than by the publishers of his own country. i hope an american publisher soon rectifies this, and that these stories will receive the wide distribution and recognition they deserve here in the usa.
joseph hansen was a superb writer, who died almost unknown in the early 90s. his brandstetter novels were published in the late 70s and early 80s, to much acclaim in the gay press but with very little recognition by mainline critics. this is sad, both because of the outstanding quality of his prose, and also because of the marketing, many straight people missed out on a real treat. while dave brandstetter is a gay character, the books themselves transcend any attempt to pigeon-hole them. his characters develop beautifully over the course of the series, and i know of no other writer who evokes southern california as well, unless it be raymond chandler.
in addition to the brandstetter books, hansen wrote other free-standing novels. to my mind, the best of them is titled 'job's year.' that book and these stories have haunted me every since i first read them in the 80s. i am eager to reread all of these brandstetter novels, from start to finish.
now that he is reappearing, i hope hansen catches on with english speaking readers and that american publishers bring back his works here on his side of the pond. i don't know if he has been translated into other languages, but if he hasn't been he ought to be. you may not know it, but the appearance of this book is an important literary event.
I've been a Joseph Hansen fan for years and read most of the books as they came out. It's great to have them in one edition. However, the type is very, very small and the whole thing is falling apart and I'm only four books in. Plus, and maybe this is a small thing, the titles are out of order on the cover (which has nothing to do with the content, either). They are correctly listed inside for reference - which I figured out after checking out the cover a few times. He would have been better served with a two volume omnibus. One that would have held together.
I read other reviews before ordering The Complete Brandstetter. My only reservation was from the comments about the print being so small. Not wrong! (And that's the only reason I take half a star away.) But I got used to it while reading the first of the twelve books within. If you have a dedicated pair of reading glasses, as opposed to no line bifocals or whatever, I suggest you get them out and then prop yourself up comfortably with the book, which is a bit heavy, at a good reading distance. The binding on mine seems to be secure and supple to durably keep the 1200 pages (of nice paper) together. I have two of the original paperbacks and always wanted to read more, but considered the expense even if I could find the other ten. Still, I started right from the beginning of this collection and will read them all in chronological order as they are laid out which I recommend. It is a series. J. Hansen's writing style is for intelligent readers and his stories, besides being very good "mysteries", have rich and deep, well, subtext doesn't say enough. Hansen made Dave Brandstetter fully human and intriguing. I liked him right from the beginning and even more as his flaws and sometimes subversive investigative methods came to light. I already know I will read the last story slowly, not wanting to come to the end, however there are more books by Joseph Hansen and that's something to look forward to.
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Joseph Hansen's David Brandstetter books are among the best detective novels I've ever read and I've read most of them. When these books were first published many of us couldn't wait for the next in the series. When the series ended, it was indeed a sad day for readers of such amazing fiction. Joseph Hansen's characters are likeable even when doing dastardly deeds and they are totally believable. It is great to have a hero who has doubts and flaws. It makes David and the other characters human. Although characterizations and descriptions are tight, Hansen creates a movie of the mind. You can taste, smell, hear and see through his words.
I'd like to see this published in a set of hardbacks or at least a hardcover edition. These books would also make a great TV series whether BBC, Channel Four, Here or any other network.
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I cannot recommend Joseph Hansen's Dave Brandstetter series highly enough (and I'm a middle-aged mom who has no special interest in gay detectives).
The mysteries are well-crafted, the writing's great, and the window the series presents back into (what now seems a much more innocent)Southern California is both poignant and breathtakingly sharp.
If there's a flaw, it's that...yes...most everybody (guilty or innocent) turns out to be gay, which makes the series a bit repetitive if you try to read it all at once. But that's more than compensated for by Hansen's wonderful characterizations.
Dave is an thoughtful, well-rounded, intelligent character with keen instincts about people and a unique ability to sympathize without compromise. His relationships with his father, lover and friends take up very little "screen" time but light up the book. His corresponding lack of insight into his own flaws give him a subtle, deep sense of humanity.
One comment- to accommodate the entire series, the print in this "works of" edition is extremely small. It's a great deal, but I'd love to see it come out on the kindle!
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