Re: RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 11 Aug 2001

Hey, Mario, just feeling ornery and there haven't been many posts lately, so I thought I'd respond to your list:

Block's Deadly Honeymoon -- this is the only one of Block's early paperback originals I found less than convincing. I believed the early-60s couple who waited until marriage. I was horrified that the wife was brutally raped (very well written scene, by the way, very disturbing without being nearly as graphic as many would now write it) just before the couple was able to consummate their marriage. I even accepted the couple's tracking of the rapists. Semi-spoiler: However, I did not buy the couple's relationship to each other during that investigation, nor how easily cathartic the ending was, that absolutely everything has been put behind them and everything is now okay. Still a very good book, as good as many writers' best, but I feel Block did much better in Girl With a Long Green Heart, Such Men Are Dangerous, Mona, etc.

Totally agree with you about Sunshine Enemies. This reminds me that I'm a few behind on Constantine. I need to catch up.

I'm also a couple behind on Mosley, so I haven't read either of the Socrates Fortnow books, although the movie made me want to check them out.

The Dortmunder books just don't do it for me. I far prefer Westlake's darker work.

I liked Stark's Comeback, but I liked the next two even better. Comeback seemed a bit nostalgic to me, kinda "Gee, weren't those old books fun" (which they most definitely were/are). It was like all of those westerns where the gunslinger is being pushed aside by progress The next two seemed to me to be more surely set in contemporary times.

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

I'm not arguing with this assertion, but these books are not all from the same era. Comeback and Walkin' the Dog are pretty recent, but the rest span several decades. The Block is close to 40 years old.


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