RARA-AVIS: List recommendations you've liked

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 17 May 2000

An awful lot of writers and titles are mentioned on the list, and over the years I've noted many books I wanted to pick up. Some I've found, others I probably never will. Some I've liked a lot, and I'd be interested in hearing what recommendations other people have picked up from the list that they really liked. (This will exclude the people on the list who've already read everything, but tough.)

Three that I picked up on are:

- The Shell Scott books, by Richard S. Prather. These are a riot. Shell gets into all manner of scrapes, has women practically attacking him, takes on all sorts of tough guys and breezes through it all.

- The Matt Helm books, by Donald Hamilton. Like the Shell Scott books, these were Gold Medal originals. They're short, fast, tough thrillers with a no-nonsense hero. Lots of action.

- The Matt Scudder books, by Lawrence Block. The later ones get cosier, but Scudder's still a tough hombre, and the crucial two books in the middle, EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE and WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES, are hard stuff. I recommend these to lots of people and the few who actually pay attention and buy them, love them. Block's a fine writer and a master craftsman. I'm not so big on his other series characters, but that's personal taste.

The Helm books I'd seen in stores for years, but always avoided because I thought they were either like those series such as the Inseminator and Base Force A.L.P.H.A., or like the Dean Martin movies. Block's books I'd also seen in lots of stores, new and used, but I stayed away because I hadn't heard anything about him and I figured anyone with that many books out, who hadn't been recommended to me by anyone, probably wasn't much good. Mystery sections of used stores are usually filled with shelves and shelves of stuff by the same authors, most of which are bad. I'm glad I found out about Block, though.

My hardboiled reading was, until the list got going, pretty much limited to people I'd heard about in HARDBOILED AMERICA or who were published by Black Lizard. It was hard to find out about other writers I should look for. I'm glad to have found so many writers mentioned on the list, and now my shelves are jammed with stuff to be read.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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