RARA-AVIS: Brief impressions of Asphalt Jungle

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 24 May 2000

Just finished this. Wasn't this the book of the month? Geez, I actually read the assigned book! :)

Anyhow, this is an okay-not-great caper novel. Parts of it are done well: I liked how Burnett handled the pov changes (that sort of thing is often fuddled by authors) and the conclusion was, I though, gracefully done. But it is an utterly predictable book -- I defy any long-time readers of the genre not to guess the plot about 1/3 of the way through.

Of course, was this the first, or one of the first, caper novels? In which case it has historical interest, I guess.

The only other Burnett novel I've read is LITTLE CAESAR, which is excellent. I'm not sure why I like that one better -- it's as predictable a story as this
(rise and fall of a gangster). Maybe because it's more character focussed than plot focussed. Or maybe I just have a weakness for that story -- I've enjoyed innumerable variations of it.(Anyone ever see the Blaxploitation classic BLACK CAESAR)? I do think CAESAR is simply better written than JUNGLE -- tighter, with more conviction behind it.

I haven't seen the movie versions of JUNGLE or CAESAR. Someday.


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

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