RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Mario Taboada ( matrxtech@yahoo.com)
Date: 11 Aug 2001

In my recent hardboiled readings, I have hit upon a streak of masterpieces:

Lawrence Block's _Deadly Honeymoon_. This is as hardboiled as they come, a real gem in both technique and content.

Walter Mosley's _Walkin' the Dog_, a Socrates Fortnow book. To my mind, this is Mosley's best book, even better than _A Little Yellow Dog_. The characterization has depth, the writing is impeccable, and the story is absorbing. He gets the details right, too.

K.C. Constantine's _Sunshine Enemies_ (read the book to see the pun in the mysterious title). Another tour de force in realistic hardboiled writing. The mystery, such as it is, is secondary to the real story, which is the death of Mario Balzic's mother. With this book, Constantine succeeds in writing a hardboiled story about a chief of police in which the protagonist comes first (this ain't no procedural). We already knew that his stories were about Balzic, but this novel is a striking example. Some of the best dialogue I've ever read.

Donald Westlake's _Bank Shot_, a hilarious and tightly written Dortmunder caper. Very original plot. I would say it's as good as _The Hot Rock_, an acknowledged classic. There is an interesting picture of a bearded young Westlake on the flap.

Richard Stark's _Comeback_, a Parker novel that lives up to the best in the series. Striking economy of means from Westlake, tough and suspenseful. You must read this.

And that's all. Now tell me: if this isn't a Golden Age of hardboiled writing, what is?

My appetite for hardboiled has come back: I see a lot of good stuff on the pile. I've got a little time. More later.



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