Re: RARA-AVIS: Max Martinez
Wed, 30 Jun 1999 19:24:30 EDT

Of the handful of Chicano writers who delve into crime fiction, Max is definitely the hardest and most noirish. His sense of place and character influenced by place is top notch. I took from his books an appreciation for the South Texas he has created in his novels. His is a redneck noir approach that brings out the worst that a combination of sex, greed, flat stretches of arid landscape and Texas heat can produce. Of his two crime novels, I prefer White Leg. He got right to it in that one although Layover certainly has an interesting opening chapter, if I remember correctly. He has said that he had another in the works tentatively entitled Lap Dance. Who knows if it will ever see a bookstore shelf? It's difficult for a writer like Max to get noticed. Published by a small press, apt to be labeled an "ethnic writer" by bookstores, readers and critics and thus his audience is immediately narrowed and, on the other hand, he may be too outrageous for the casual reader of what is called "Latino Literature." Too many labels and not enough readers willing to take a chance on something different. Manuel Ramos

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