Re: RARA-AVIS: Prather and the Kanes

M*T (
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 22:33:29 -0500 I find Prather's books irresistible. While the psychology of his
characters is often simplistic and rigid, he's very funny and always
keeps his outrageous stories moving along. His best dialogue belongs in
an anthology of American humor.

Last year, I bought a big pile of paperbacks that included a lot of Kane
and a lot of Kane. I agree with Bill Crider that Frank Kane was not a
powerhouse, although he was competent (he also repeated himself from
book to book, as noticed here in a previous discussion). However, "hack"
may be too strong a word to describe such a readable author.

On the other hand, I am a minor fan of Henry Kane, a very skilled
commercial writer who in the sixties went from spicy to soft-porn to no
visible detriment of his stories. His characters and situations are
interesting quite apart from the crime element. Even if he used sex
purely as a hook, as I think he did, he really knew how to write about
it, something that cannot be said of many hardboiled writers.

I am now working on Donald Hamilton's #2 Matt Helm novel, _The Wrecking
Crew_. I could not find #1, our assigned reading, even though I'm sure I
have two copies of it! Twenty-five pages into it, TWC seems a fine and
tense thriller. I'll send some comments when I've finished.


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