Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Crais' Women

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 15 Jul 2000

Okay, it's hard to discuss this without spoiling a certain plot point in LA Requiem. I'll try to dance clear, but anyone who is thinking of reading it should be forewarned.

I saw Dolan as a big improvement in Crais's depiction of women, same with Cole's ex-partner's widow and her daughter. (Of course, the same could be said of the men, LAR gives every character greater depth.) I was, and am, pretty fed up with Lucy. I wouldn't mind if she has walked off for good, but I kind of doubt it.

I saw Dolan as a very interesting, complex character. She is smart, but sometimes does dumb things. She is conflicted about many things and clearly feels and fears betrayal. This put her drinking and bluster into perspective for me. As for her "stalking" of Elvis, I agree with Kevin and Jean who say that is partly a manifestation of her loneliness and feeling of betrayal by the LAPD in general and her boss in particular (although in service of pushing the plot forward, she does at times go further than she believably would). In addition, Elvis is clearly the first person who has really listened to her about anything in a very long time. That can be a very heady experience, especially for someone feeling lonely and vulnerable. As for her forwardness, I see that as a kind of self-protection device on her part -- if I act like it's just physical, I don't have to acknowledge anything deeper which may end up hurting me. It's a pattern I've seen before, in both men and women.

Of course, it's all very convenient that Elvis rejects her, stays true to Lucy. Still, Crais dealt with Elvis's battle within himself and too-late acknowledgement of his own feelings toward Dolan pretty well. I thought that was one of the many ways in which this book is a major leap forward for Crais in terms of character. We get a greater understanding of just about everyone (except Lucy, she's still pretty two dimensional).

I was really looking forward to Dolan keeping Elvis on his toes. I'm going to miss her.


ps -- Kevin "the voice of common sense"? There go his credentials as a curmudgeon.

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