RARA-AVIS: All Kinds of Things

Sat, 25 Dec 1999 07:47:29 -0600

I was out of town on a training detail for the first two weeks in December, and I've been spending most of my e-mail time since then trying to catch up on piled-up messages, so I haven't been contributing to many of the recently developed threads. Heres some short thoughts on several of them.

SENSITIVE DETECTIVES: Not a new phenomenon in HB crime fiction at all, as Kevin so eloquently points out. See the Continental Op in The Dain Curse, Lew Archer in The Galton Case and just about all of his subsequent appearances, Steve Carella in any 87th Precinct mystery in which his wife Teddy is featured. Even such hardcases as Mike Hammer in The Big Kill, or Matt Helm in Death of a Citizen show softer sides.

VOICE-OVER: I like it because first-person narration is a common practice in HB prose fiction, and voice-overs evoke the literary roots of the HB films and TV. I was always a big fan of the terse, reportorial narration used by Jack Web on Dragnet. NEVER STREET: The Walker series is one of my favorite current PI series. I like the fact that Walker's an anachronism. Probably because I sometimes feel like I am, too. Having said that, I was a bit disappointed in Never Street. Justposing Walker against a film noirnut brought the basic artificiality of Walker's film noir world into too sharp a relief for me. I'm able to suspend my disbelief with the other books, but not this one because the similarity of Walker's universe with that of the films, films he enjoys but finds artificial, makes Estelman's artifice too apparent for me. Sort of like having Batman investigate a case at a comic books convention. Estelman's westerns are great, and he's also a helluva nice guy.

IN CLOSING: Hope everyone on the list has a Merry Christmas. God Bless You All.


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