Re: RARA-AVIS: recent acquisitions

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 18 Aug 2001

George asked:

"Is anybody familiar with any of these titles? I picked them up for a song at a used paperback sale."

Rafferty: Wrong Place, Wrong Time (W. Glenn Duncan) Rafferty's Rules (Duncan)

I like this series of 6 books featuring a smartass, one-name PI and his psycho cowboy sidekick. Obviously, post-Spenser, however, I like these a lot more than I like Spenser. They do not for an instant take themselves seriously, just run with the action and a PI who thinks he's a lot funnier than he is (including quoting from his long catalog of randomly numbered "rules"), as everyone constantly reminds him. Fast, fun reads.

Deviant Behavior (Earl Emerson) Catfish Cafe (Emerson)

I also really like the Thomas Black books. The series started off mediumboiled, but got harder as it went along. Belying the claim that domesticity undercuts a PI series, Black's cases got darker (in a Ross Macdonald sense, to whom he has always owed a bit of a debt in his plots) after he got married. This is not to say there are not still madcap moments (as in the Thin Man-ish spousal repartee). Deviant Behavior is before the turning point of The Portland Laugher (which got downright nasty at points), Catfish Cafe is after. I've enjoyed the entire series.

Shadow of a Tiger (Michael Collins)

Early in the Dan Fortune series. I've never gone wrong with a Fortune novel, although some have recently commented (complained?) they are quietly hardboiled. They are more investigative than action oriented. The series gets increasingly critical of an uncaring society as it goes along, but does it through building empathy for fully drawn, socially marginal characters, not through preaching. However, this book is from pretty early in the series, before Collins' (Lynds') politics became quite so overt.


# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 18 Aug 2001 EDT