Re: RARA-AVIS: Chinaman's Chance

From: Ray Skirsky (
Date: 14 Aug 2000

At 03:38 PM 8/14/00 -0400, you wrote:
>Chinaman's Chance was the first Ross Thomas book I read under his own
>name (I had read a couple of the Bleeck/St. Ives books). It blew me
>away and I eventually went on to read all of his books. And I was
>thrilled that there were further adventures of Woo and Durant.

My own personal favorite among Ross Thomas series characters is "Cast a Yellow Shadow." The Padillo and McCorkle stories are more action oriented than Wu and Durant, which is understandable given that Padillo is one of the world's best assassins. A humorous [maybe unintentionally so] aspect of Yellow Shadow is the continual ranking of assassins, like something out of a cheesy old western gunfighter tale. My favorite non-series book is "The Fools in Town are on Our Side," mainly for the idea that the only way to clean up a corrupt town is to increase the corruption to the level that the average citizen rebels.

Someone elsewhere in this thread mentioned the realistic portrayal of power that is characteristic of Thomas, I think it's a little different. His characters, both good and bad, are all complete cynics, or realists, if you yourself are a cynic. They expect to be double-crossed; no matter what anyone does, they don't waste time in moralizing, they just get on with it. The only difference between his good guys and bad guys is where they draw the line.


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