RARA-AVIS: Serial Killers R' Us

Reed Andrus (randrus@home.com)
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 17:16:57 -0700

> Whether or not a serial killer book is or is not hardboiled depends on
> the treatment the author gives the story. If the treatment is tough
> and colloquial it's hardboiled. If it isn't, it's not. Simple as
> that. Don't over-analyze so much! - Jim Doherty

For what it's worth, I think Jim's absolutely correct. My example would be Rex Miller's series about Chaingang Bunkowski. The books actually began as police procedurals featuring Jack Eichord, but the monster became so popular with readers, he took over. Did the series deteriorate into ur-Gothic or blood-drenched cozy? Yeah, sort of. But the author's attitude and intent was firmly directed at providing hard-edged fiction. We can argue whether or not Thomas Harris was poking fun at himself or at his readers with his annoying writing habits and plot devices, but I'd personally dump Hannibal into the fringes of the hardboiled subgenre. Just my opinion.

... Reed

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