RARA-AVIS: Recent reads of my own

From: Mark Sullivan ( DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net)
Date: 26 Dec 2000

Jeremiah Healy, The Only Good Lawyer -- I was reminded of the series when Healy's name came up in the recent discussion of Parker and decided to pick it back up with the next in line. A solid book in a solid series. I've got to agree with those who said the series began under the influence of Parker (not just for the Boston setting, but for the type of lead character, although he has no Hawk by his side), but I stopped reading Parker (after Rachel Wallace; although I recently read Perish Twice and was reminded just how readable his style is, even if I find much of the content annoying) and kept reading Healy. I also agree with whoever (Kevin?) said Healy has similarities with Greenleaf (the cases turning on legal points), but not quite so dark.

Stephen Greenleaf, Past Tense -- Damn, I love this series. Of course, I'm a sucker for morose PIs and Tanner is definitely that. Plus Greenleaf is a great stylist and plotter. Very dark, with a particularly nasty ending. Did Greenleaf consider making this the last in the series? Certainly seems like it could have been Tanner's Final Problem.

Fred Willard, Princess Naughty and the Voodoo Cadillac -- list alumnus Fred Willard comes up with a second winner. This one ventures a bit into Ross Thomas territory, bringing in corrupt ex-CIA agents, but with a southern spin. Most of the story is again set in the Atlanta underworld where everyone has a story to tell while staking out the competition. It's almost paradoxical how the leisurely southern voice can be used so well to increase suspense. Also like many of Thomas's caper novels, this is hilarious. You gotta love any book with a character everyone (including himself) calls "The Shitass Ronnie Gordon."


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