Re: RARA-AVIS: Early Pelecanos

From: Ray Skirsky (
Date: 11 Aug 2000

At 10:29 PM 8/10/00 -0500, you wrote:

>He is too slow in pacing for some readers, but that's because he doesn't
>just take his protagonist through different locations and encounters on the
>way to a climax. Nick enjoys drinking, sometimes snorting, and the game of
>selling a line to someone, and that translates into unexpected experiences
>along the way. Pelecanos is excellent on the frenetic world of discount
>(appliance) selling or, for my money, the feel of certain restaurants and
>bars, either as places one works or places one lives. And, his shootouts
>are carefully staged, with equal parts of planning and spontaneous action
>determining the outcome.

Sounds a little like Lawrence Block's "When the Sacred Ginmill Closes," which is ostensibly a mystery but actually a book about the characters whose lives are lived through the bars they frequent. I think it's Block's masterwork, but not hard-boiled. The rest of the Matthew Scudder series is straight genre fiction.

So, did anyone else read "Chinaman's Chance?"


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