RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 18 Apr 2001


Very strange story about a man and a woman who hook up, then fall into a strange mutual-revenge pattern that lasts many years. Imagine the Double Indemnity duo if they'd lasted, and you might get a flavor of this. Starts out slow but kicks into high gear after the first sixty pages or so -- worth a look.

Daniel Woodrell -- THE ONES YOU DO

Proving once again that the hardboiled approach can encompass just about anything, this is basically a slice-of-life novel with a few plot trappings. A bunch of marginal people in the Deep South discover each other and work out their relationships. Enjoyable, though I prefer Woodrell's GIVE US A KISS.

Richard Prather -- TAKE A MURDER, DARLING

I think it's not quite true that Prather is a
"hilarious" writer. I was thinking about that, reading this installment of the Shell Scott adventures. I almost never laugh out loud when I'm reading a Prather. I'll smile, maybe chuckle a little, but that's it. In this one, although there are some amusing moments, he comes on serious more often than not -- he's no Carl Hiassen. I'd say instead that Prather is fundamentally "good-humored". Anyhow, this is typical Shell Scott -- if you like the series you'll like this (though I saw the climax coming a mile away.)


Reading this now and it's simply excellent, one of the very best Blocks I've ever stumbled across. Disaffected Green Beret gets involved in a plot to steal armaments from an army base. Very tough and direct -- qualities that are mostly missing from present day Block, in my opinion. (Read about this title in Ed Gorman's BIG BOOK OF NOIR, an absolutely invaluable resource.)


===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com

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