RARA-AVIS: Re: Definitions again, and Ronin/Payback

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 09:31:45 -0500 Another problem with the definition of hardboiled is that stuff like
Stark's Parker wouldn't qualify, since he's not investigating a crime; he's
usually trying to get away with it, nor noir, because, Parker seems to be
very able to control himself. Definitions of something that has more to do
with style than plot or character elements will always be tricky, and both
noir and hardboiled, I feel, have more to do with feel and attitude, than,
say, setting or plot. Whereas cozies are very much defined by setting and
characters. I could easily see a hardboiled novel take place in a country
estate setting, though I find it hard to believe a cozy could really head
out on the road with an open-ended list of suspects and characters.

In other words, I may not know hardboiled, but I recognize it when it comes
up and punches me in the stomach.

And speaking of Parker, I just saw RONIN, which I rather liked, and seemed
rather Starkesque to me. A nice slice of stylish hardboiled, about some
cold, hard, professionals hired (or set up?) to do a job in France. How
does it compare to PAYBACK, which I haven't seen? Most of the mainstream
reviews of PAYBACK I've seen have dumped on it for the same qualities most
of you guys said it lacked. That Gibson was too ruthless, cynical, amoral.
Most of you guys said he wasn't enough of those things.

One man's jewellery another man's brass knucks, or what?

Kevin Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site

Now out: The February issue, with fiction from Robert Iles and Leigh Brackett,
and Face the Face, our new contest for fans of paperback eyes.! Yippy!

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