Re: RARA-AVIS: Just finished: Mongo's Back in Town

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 03 Jun 2000

Doug Bassett:

<<I believe this is one of Mario Taboda's favorites. Picked it up for a few bucks in one of those "Bargain Book" catalogs and yeah, it's pretty good.>>

Glad you had a chance to read it. It is indeed a favorite of mine. I like all of Johnson's novels for their raw power, their unsentimental look at the criminal life and its protagonists. The stories feel right, much the same way that Constantine's work feels right. Over many years of reading crime fiction, I have found that the authors whose appeal endures for me are those who convey a sense of real people (this is regardless of how fantastic the plot may be, as in Willeford).

Since we are talking about recent reads: I just finished Elmore Leonard's "Be Cool", a Chili Palmer novel which I found very entertaining but unsatisfactory because the role of the Russian maffia is never really explained. I cannot believe Leonard left such a huge gap unfilled in the story, especially when another 10 pages would have sufficed. I get the impression that he finished the novel off in a hurry to meed a deadline. So, very good bread but only half a loaf. From a master like Leonard, I expect full loaves...



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