RARA-AVIS: Length, Parker, Crais, Connolly (long--sorry!)

From: Victoria Esposito-Shea ( vmes@northnet.org)
Date: 02 Mar 2000

>I didn't feel the book was too
>long... In fact I rarely do... I don't mind paying 6.99 for a 400 page
>book, but do for a 180 page book...

What bothers me is buying a book that doesn't know when to shut up. I'd far, far rather get a short & lean book that says what it has to say and then stops than buy a 400 page book that really ought to be 180 pages.

Actually, I've been re-reading the early Spenser novels lately, partly to see if they were really as good as I thought they were and partly out of desperation. (We recently moved from a city of 100,000 to a village of 8,000, and the only thing I really, really miss is the big library.) I've been really struck, just eyeballing them on the shelf, at the difference in length/size between the early ones (the ones with the title larger than Parker's name and the proletarian bindings) and the later ones. I've also been struck, reading them, at how much earlier Spenser became insufferable than I remembered. In PROMISED LAND, the fourth in the series, there's a scene where Spenser has a fugitive, a suburban matron who's accidentally gotten involved in a felony-murder, in his apartment. While they're both restraining their raging hormones, he fixes her supper, and it's while he's going on and on about how he sliced the potatoes into little egg-shapes and it took a long time that I wanted to slap him up side the head and yell,
"Look, just mash the damn things and get supper on the table!" And I hadn't realized just how explicit Parker's debt to Chandler is--in THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT, there's a point where a client tells Spenser "I don't like your manner," and Spenser replies, "I'm not selling it." Hmmmm.

And as far Crais and Connolly go, I've gotta say I was really underwhelmed by L.A. Requiem, which I'd heard such great things about. It was the first Crais I'd read, but the long flashbacks about Pike annoyed me, a lot, and I really didn't take to the Peter Pan detective. I read the previous couple Pike/Cole novels after that, and liked them better, but probably wouldn't buy them hardcover.

I also picked up Connolly for the first time this year. I really loved THE CONCRETE BLONDE and ANGELS FLIGHT, though I was lukewarm on BLACK ICE and TRUNK MUSIC--the latter because the relationship didn't ring true for me at all and, I think, got in the way of everything else. (I do wonder, though, just how many times Harry can get suspended before the PD decides to cut its losses and fire him.) I actually liked Connolly's one-offs better--particularly BLOOD WORK, which is, I guess, a serial killer novel but isn't "about" the serial killer per se.

Phew. Another couple paragraphs, and I could probably charge Dave $6.99 for this post (hi Dave!).


# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Mar 2000 EST