RARA-AVIS: Estleman and Valin

From: Larson, Craig ( Craig.Larson@tsjc.cccoes.edu)
Date: 01 Sep 2000

Loren D. Estleman's Macklin novels, if I'm remembering them correctly, feature a mob hitman as the main character. There were three of them (can't remember the titles right now), and I remember them as being quite riveting and fun books, sort of like Max Allan Collins' Quarry series. Of course, I like Estleman's other PI series and I've read most of his stand-alone novels about crime and history in Detroit. I've even read and enjoyed his Westerns, particularly
_Journey of the Dead_ (that's probably not the right title, but it's what comes to mind), about Pat Garrett's life after he shot and killed Billy the Kid.

Jonathan Valin was one of my favorites. I say "was" because he's apparently stopped writing detective novels. _Dead Letter_ isn't perhaps the best of the Harry Stoner series--it was made into a forgettable TV movie starring Gil Gerard (former Buck Rogers), which might give you some sense of the book. But earlier entries like _The Lime Pit_ and _Natural Causes_, as well as some of the later books in the series, such as _Extenuating Circumstances_, are among the best of the modern hardboiled detective books out there. Valin does a great job, too, of bringing the city of Cincinnati, the series' location, to vivid life.

Craig Larson Trinidad, CO

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