Re: RARA-AVIS: WHO created the hard-boiled story?

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 11 Jun 2001

I'll say the writer is misinformed. Before Chandler, guys like Hammett, Daly, Erle Stanley Gardner, Raoul Whitfield and Paul Cain were dealing with distinctly hardboiled characters. He is also wrong in putting Ross Macdonald (who represents a shift towards the psychological) in with the hardboiled school.

Had he said Donald Hamilton, Mickey Spillane or John D. MacDonald (only in *some* of his fifties' work, though), I would agree that they continued the hardboiled tradition. But Ross Macdonald broke with it (in a different way, Jim Thompson broke with it, too, by way of surrealist suspense and sheer weirdness).

Speaking of contemporary hardboiled: I just finished _The Ex_ a really scary novel by John Lutz, an excellent hardboiled writer I've learned to appreciate in the last few years. At his best, Lutz is as good as Gores (cream of the crop).

If you want a scary double bill, read Westlake's _The Ax_ and follow it up with Lutz's _The Ex_.



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