Re: RARA-AVIS: 5-Star Mystery collections...

From: R & J Clinton (
Date: 25 Aug 2001

From: "Mark Sullivan"
> And Ron, what was disappointing about the Gores collection? I see it
> includes Second Coming (from the Black Lizard anthology), which was one
> of the more affecting short stories I've read.

In all fairness to Mr. Gores, I probably should have qualified that off-the-cuff statement a bit. The collection as a whole was not *overly* disappointing - there were, in fact, several very strong and powerful, well-written tales. Taken as a whole, however, and read straight through in a day or two, one - or, at least, I - came away from the collection with a sense of it being very dated...and not in a "classic" sense. About half of the stories were written in the '70's and suffer from many of even-then dated euphamisms as "dig, man" and "it's a gas, man" and "groovy" and the like. Even SECOND COMING had a generous amount of this - but, as you say, its affecting style and theme kept this story from being buried by the hep-cat lingo. It simply felt oddly dated...distractingly so. Perhaps Ellroy can, to some extent, get away with this type of dialogue, but in Gores' case, the material felt burdened by its origins.

I can certainly appreciate a book being dated by themes and, yes, even dialogue, as is common with many of the musty old Gold Medal et al paperbacks that many of us cherish. But in this particular case, the lovebeads and polyester just swished too loud for me to enjoy some of the stories in and of themselves.

My opinion could have also been colored, I suppose, by having read Clark Howard's collection, CROWDED LIVES, immediately preceding the Gores collection, so perhaps the bar had been set too high; I'd be hard-pressed to name a better short-story writer penning poignant, dark suspense than Howard
(though Ed Gorman certainly springs to mind).

And his material will never be dated.

Ron Clinton

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