RARA-AVIS: Lewin & Crais

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 02 Feb 2001

Michael Z. Lewin is both from Indiana and from England. He wrote maybe a dozen, maybe more, Albert Sampson PI novels in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, then tapered off. A very strong writer. Great sense of place in his stories, too. I meet him at Magna Cum Murder about six years ago. It's held in Indiana and he's a regular there for the conference, although he lives fulltime in England, the last I heard. Through his direct intervention (i.e., prying my fingertips from the bar rail), I met Randisi and the Shamus crowd. His most recent book that I heard about was called CUTTING LOOSE, which was a historical murder mystery that begins in the states and goes on to England and is centered around an 1895 baseball team. There were flashbacks, too, from the 1920s (?)

Crais and I have talked about writer's technique a couple times. Alternating between first & third person in LA REQUIM, he told me, was the hardest decision he had to make on the book. He realized he had no choice. Elvis Cole's first person wasn't enough to make the story work.

Frederick Zackel

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