RARA-AVIS: Weeding Out

From: T.Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@escape.ca)
Date: 02 Jul 2001

After seeing Mark Sullivan's weeding out lists, I went to the mini-reviews that I write about books I have read. The reviews began as information for a friend who reviewed modern fiction for a daily newspaper and a number of magazines, but now they are basically for my own information. My grading system tops out at four stars and none of the books I have read on Mark's list received that high a rating. Uncivil Seasons by Michael Malone received 3 1/2 and I also enjoyed the three Pete Hamill books and often wondered why he didn't continue this PBO series. Probably too many other books on the go.

I called Blues for Charlie Darwin by Nat Hentoff "a disappointment" and wrote that I couldn't keep the characters straight. I read several of William DeAndrea's Matt Cobb series, which I enjoyed, but gave his The Hog Murders a similar rating to Blues. The only Colin Wilcox I read, Stalking Horse, didn't get me looking for others, but I do have his collaboration with Bill Pronzini in my library. I can't find my reviews on Doug Hornig's first two books featuring P.I. Loren Swift, Foul Shot and Hardball, but remember enjoying them. Never got to The Dark Side, which also has shelf space. I gave David Littlejohn's non-mystery, Going to California, a very good ***1/2 review and wrote that I was going to find his first book. I did, but "Mick Jagger' has stayed in the TBR stack for years.

Tony Fennelly received an Edgar nomination for her first novel, The Glory Hole Murders featuring gay New Orleans amateur detective Matt Sinclair. I read the second, The Closet Hanging, and enjoyed it, but didn't remember it when I met Fennelly at Bouchercon in the Twin Cities in 1996. I won't forget her now because when I bought a copy of her third book, The Hippie in the Wall, directly from her at a cocktail party hosted by Winnipeg's mystery bookstore, Whodunit, the redheaded former exotic dancer inscribed it, To Kent, in memory of that passionate weekend in St. Paul. Perhaps I'll remember it that way as the years pass. As for weeding out, Mark should keep the Hamills, Fennelly and Malone and get rid of the others mentioned. But that's easy for me to say when I have trouble getting rid of anything.

Kent Morgan surrounded by books in Winnipeg

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