Re: RARA-AVIS: _The Burnt Orange Heresy_

William Denton (
Wed, 8 Jul 1998 13:26:46 -0400 (EDT) On Fri, 3 Jul 1998, Maki Nakada wrote:

: I hated Figueras although I understood him, wanted to be him. It
: was very queer feeling. I can say the same thing almost all
: Willeford's maincharacters.

Wanted to be him? I'm glad you're on the other side of the Pacific!

I know what you mean, though. I find Willeford's criminals are very
understandable, in a different way than the insane crooks cooked up by
Thompson and Woolrich. They might show you an insane guy who knows
he's insane, or show how he descends into madness while trying to
justify each action along the way. Willeford's sociopaths don't even
care, they just break fingers and hide dead 14-year-olds, and tell you
about it in a deadpan style. Since it makes perfect sense to them,
after a while it makes sense to you. A difference in the writers'
style, and maybe a difference between sociopaths and other kinds of
criminal insanity.

One other thing about Willeford I just remembered: I can't remember
which Mosely book it's in, but there's a section where he's sent up to
a farm to investigate missing people. He finds out they've been
murdered, and ends up in a fight with one or two people who run the
farm. I think this was the third Willeford book I'd read, after the
first Hoke and _Pick-Up_. I'd thought I was going to like it, but the
cover kind of turned me off, and I had to put it down after a couple
of chapters to write an essay. When I picked it up again, I was
taking a bus up to the cottage. I sat down and started reading, and
when Hoke got into the fight, I remember thinking, "Jesus Christ, this
is one of the most violent things I've ever read." It was a short,
powerful explosion of fists and sticks and blood, then Hoke goes back
to Miami and carries on with work.

I've re-read _Heresy_ and _The Shark-Infested Custard_ over the last
week, and I'm going to go through all the Mosely books again. They
really are excellent.

Mario, I thought you were going to chime in, but I don't think you've
said anything about _Heresy_ yet. Perhaps when the soccer's over?


William Denton | Toronto, Canada | | Caveat lector.
            "Let's keep the party polite."

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