RARA-AVIS: Stirring up trouble: Drowning and Connelly

Mon, 12 Jan 1998 13:56:15 -0500 All right, I'll stir up trouble to see if I can provoke some response.
And I'll admit right off that my opinions are based on little sampling.

1. I've only read a little Ross MacDonald, but he seems way overrated
to me. I first thought he was going to be great because Joyce Carol
Oates praises him so highly in her review of the Library of America
Chandler (she implies, as I recall, that MacDonald improved on
Chandler). I read part of _The Goodbye Look_, then put it aside. Maybe
the mere confines of family squabble seem uniteresting to me. I've read
the first fifty pages of _Drowning Pool_. It seems competent to me,
with some good dialogue and descriptions. At the same time, it often
seems badly stagey and contrived (e.g., Archer's hearing the long
dialogue, with all the innuendo, etc., when he first arrives for the
cocktail party). I have recently read that John Leonard wrote a piece
in Esquire in 1976 about how two critics (at Time and [Leonard? at] the
New York Times) conspired to do big stories on MacDonald, and it was
only after that time that he rose in notoriety.

2. Michael Connelly has gotten a lot of attention and Mario Taboada
(whose postings I always admire) recently spoke highly of Connelly. I
read Black Ice--or rather about 200+ pages out of 300 or so. I renewed
it, then finally let the library have it back, just as I was nearing the
climax. I just didn't care; or rather, I didn't care about caring.
Connelly's Bosch--at least in Black Ice--is the detective you learn too
much about--he's a recovering alcoholic, he's got girl trouble, he's got
issues. It's too much, I say, too much. Perhaps the other works are
much better than Black Ice.

Of course, I guess MacDonald and Connelly are both better than 90
percent of the stuff out there. Anyone out there taking off his or her

Doug Levin
# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.vex.net/~buff/rara-avis/.