RARA-AVIS: Some observation on 'God is a Bullet'

From: David Roye ( broye@us.ibm.com)
Date: 23 Jul 2001

I saw quite a few entries on God is a Bullet, and that prompted me to reserve the book from the library and read it. It was a good read and overall entertaining. I had some minor criticism of the book that detracted from my enjoyment. The first complaint is the length of the book. Too many crime books these days seem needlessly long and overdrawn. This is genre fiction; I am not sure if the publishers push the writers to make 180-page books into 240-page books and 210-page books into 300 or 400 plus page tomes. Are writers now paid by the pound of output? They are Hardboiled, not over cooked. Second, the book clearly is inspired by John Ford's Film The Searchers, and more recently an eighties film Hardcore. I had no read quarrel with that, I am just wondering if things have gone full circle. Is it that common for novelist today to draw on films? Not a major gripe.

Finally, the booked seemed dated and the dialogue forced. The whole Manson type killer clan as portrayed by the author seemed out of place and time. The dialogue in God is a Bullet was at time just painful to read. If I had to hear case just one time tell some fiend 'You're crossing over' I would have cringed. Getting back to movies, this type of dialogue reminded me of very bad movies in the 60s that tried to portray Beat culture or the Hippie culture with similar dialogue that attempts to be hip and trendy and sounds bad the moment the character speaks. The talk about sheep, and the other rants of the cult members and hangers-on is direct contrast to the first conversations that Case had with Bob in the beginning of the novel. The fist conversations were honest and had depth the cult rants were nonsense patched together by the numbers. Quite frankly it was embarrassing to read this type of dialogue.

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