RARA-AVIS: The University of Hiassen and Davis

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Fri, 26 Mar 1999 07:39:58 -0500 >I would like to give Hiaasen a second chance, after being turned off
>years ago by his glibness and unconvincing characterization. How is his
>recent work?

Gee, it was his glibness and cartoony characterization I liked, plus the
most outlandish plots since Shell Scott. I don't really think his work has
changed that much; in fact, the recent LUCKY YOU was a bit disappointing,
almost a retooling of previous books (not unlike James Lee Burke's equally
"it's okay, but didn't he write this one before?" SUNSET LIMITED). I'm with
Baxdeal; I think SKIN TIGHT was Hiassen's funniest. I also seem to remember
enjoying STRIP TEASE quite a bit, but now all I think of is that mess with
Demi Moore in it.

And since I'm being so agreeable with folks today, I'm with Mario on
Norbert Davis: someone somewhere should definiely reissue his stuff.
Everything I've read of his has ranged from very good to great. Davis'
mixture of hardboiledness and humour, and his great, sometimes loopy,
characters make his stuff far more enjoyable and downright fun than many of
those old pulp stories we've been told over and over are classics. Max
Latin is one of the great scam artist/P.I.s. He works out of a restaurant
he secretly owns, and wages a constant war with the cook and staff. And
still finds time to find the geetus, catch the crooks, drives the cops
nuts, and save the girl.

It's inexplicable that lesser stories by lesser pulp writers seem to
continually bubble to the surface, while Davis' lie in obscurity. Maybe
someone somewhere is holding onto copyrights?

A while ago, someone was trying to adapt some of his stuff for radio, but I
haven't heard how that project's been going lately.

Kevin Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site

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