RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled: Definitions Nitpicked While You Wait....

From: Mario Taboada ( matrxtech@yahoo.com)
Date: 06 Jun 2000

Let me recall, approvingly, that Joseph Shaw spoke of "hardboiled characters" rather than "hardboiled fiction". To me, a novel that has a high percentage of hardboiled characters is hardboiled. A hardboiled character is a tough, action-oriented character (good or bad guy, it doesn't matter). Such a character is ready to kill if needs be. By this primitive definition:

Paul Cain = Ultra HB George V. Higgins = Ultra HB E. Richard Johnson = Ultra HB James Ellroy = Ultra HB Richard Stark = Ultra HB Dashiell Hammett = HB Chester Himes = HB Walter Mosley = HB Joe Gores = HB Elmore Leonard = HB, sometimes Ultra HB James Lee Burke = HB Loren Estleman = HB James Crumley = HB, sometimes Ultra HB Jon Jackson = HB Robert Parker = HB Lawrence Block = HB (Scudder, Keller, early work) Jeremiah Healy = Not HB Sue Grafton = Not HB

By the way, I do distinguish hardboiled from noir (the latter, being a concept covering more a situation or atmosphere or era rather than a quality of the characters).



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