RARA-AVIS: Robert Crais

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 28 Feb 2000

All this talk about Crais got me curious, so I tried one -- LULLABY TOWN. I read about half of it and skimmed the rest. If this installment is typical of the Cole series, I'm going to have to vote with the naysayers.

The debt to Parker/Spenser is obvious, and while that's kind of annoying it's not a big deal -- Crais is a better writer than Max Byrd, say. And Cole isn't nearly as irritating as Spenser can be. But LULLABY TOWN is far too long, with a false ending, and the basic plot is both confusing and boring. Also, the Mob figures big in this book, and Crais doesn't handle them well. (I've started to think that the Mob is to hardboiled fiction what vampires are to horror fiction. If you're going to tackle the subject be damn sure you do a good job with it, because it's been done to death, and if you goof it up you're going to have readers rolling their eyes.)

The more I read the "descendants of Parker", the better Parker looks to me. Whatever else one wants to say about Parker, his books (at least, the ones I've read) are tight, clearly plotted, and usually pretty funny.

If LULLABY TOWN isn't typical of the Cole series, I'd like to hear recommendations. Barring that, though, I'll give this guy a pass. (One final note: just once I'd like to read a series that features a psychopathic killer whose sidekick is a big old sensitive PI who's a gourmet cook in his spare time. Or am I the only one who prefers Hawk and Pike to Spenser and Cole?)


===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com
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