My Pal Jack Bludis wrote:
> Something that many of us at Rara_Avis miss
> that not all of Chandler and Hammett was great.
> It's a comment rarely made here. Many of us seem
> to have the opinion that just because C or H
> wrote it, it must be good. Some of it is just
> crap where we are treated ti the development of
> the hardboiled genre.
With his characteristic bluntness, Jack makes a salient point
here. Hey Jack, been reading some Carrol John Daly, or
something? Because you just described everything I've ever
read by the guy! ;)
> Many of their Black Mask stories were just
> 'em ups." with little character develoment and
> hardly any story line. For me, even *Red
> Harvest,* a combination of six novellas with each
> judged individually, is just a shoot 'em up.
I can see what you're saying about RED HARVEST, but let's
face it, the Continental Op in RED HARVEST is as effete,
fussy and mincing as Hercule Poirot when compared to the
two-fisted head-stomping of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer in
*anything* he's ever done. Some of Hammett's stuff is just
uneven, too. Take WOMAN IN THE DARK (Please!). I finished
that and wondered, what the heck is the point? That's
something I found myself nearly always asking with Spillane.
Likewise with "Blackmailers Don't Shoot." Lord, was that
putrid. I couldn't believe Chandler was actually able to sell
it when I first read it.
> It was the demand of the pulp fiction crime
> of the day. Others who wrote this stuff are
> forgotten beccause they never went on to write
> great novels as Chandler and Harris did.
Oh, I don't know. Has Mickey Spillane's stuff ever gone out
of print? There are modern authors who get high praise here
who I also think fit into this bill: forgetable, cliched
faire, that won't stay in print long. But with apologies to
Mr. Barnum, no one ever went broke over-estimating the good
taste of the American public.
I hasten to add that there are authors out there who do
violence with a point, and do a damned fine job of it. That
great Irish scribe Ken Bruen comes to mind (and not just
because he's a personal mate of mine, the guy writes scenes
that make me want to look away, but because he's such a
damned good writer, I just can't bring myself to do it, I
have to keep turning the page. Not every crime writer can do
that), then there's our own Al Guthrie, who can make you want
to turn the page when a man's mother is killed in horrific
fashion right before his (and our) eyes. No mean feat, that.
Also, just off the top of my head (because I finished his
second novel not that long ago), there's Sean Doolittle,
whose BURN is a satisfying, funny hard-boiled read.
However, for every Hammett or Chandler, guys who sounded the
odd sour note in what was otherwise an outstanding symphony
of work, there were (and continue to be) dozens of others
just piling up the bodies with no other purpose than to write
gratuitous, book-selling, page-turning violence.
Your Mileage May Vary.
Back To Lurkdom (got a deadline)-
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 May 2005 EDT