RARA-AVIS: Crais again

From: billha@ionet.net
Date: 05 Jul 2000

db pool is full

After having read most of Crais up through Voodo,I was critical of Crais' ability to build a sense of place. Now, having pushed on through Sunset Express and into L.A. Requiem, I see definite improvement. The enlargement of his crime world into the prison and legal systems in SE makes him more realistic, less dependent on the big shootout for effect. The inclusion of the media mirroring gives more of a feel of LA as a postmodern landscape, and provides another arena of thrust and counterthrust.

The wisecracking, for its own sake, seems to recede as he enlarges his scope. On the other hand, the felt engagement with certain characters--the "heart" element--has increased. Mort is finally mourned, in a way, in Monkey, and there are deaths that matter in other novels as well. Recently, Elvis in love isn't Elvis the mouth so much--perhaps because some people matter more now.

Haven't noticed comment on Crais' women characters. Much as I couldn't believe the transformation of Ellen, I liked what he was doing with Ellen and Janet in Monkey's Raincoat, and later the wife of the cop in Free Fall. The teenager in Stalking the Angel was right on too, I thought. Pulling someone out of the path of wrong choices, attempted recovery, seems to blend well with the other more violent activities of Elvis and Pike.

Overall, I see an author growing in stature through the series, and am trying to anticipate the changes others have noted in LA Requiem.

Bill Hagen billha@ionet.net

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