Re: RARA-AVIS: Bruen/absurdist comedy

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 05 Sep 2001


I got your point about Pelecanos and agree that Ellroy or Raymond would have made it just as well. I didn't think for an instant that it was the toughness, the bleakness or even the nastiness of Bruen's White Arrest that put you off. Frankly, the other three authors display far more of all three traits than Bruen (at least in these books) and display it far more realistically and to more effect.

I again agree with your criticism of the book, that the characters are cardboard thin and not very believable. However, I thought that was a good thing. I saw them as exaggerated for humorous effect (and I don't see anything directly spoofing Ellroy, just that both write about cops who are nasty people). I found it highly amusing that the cases just came together, or didn't, and it had very little to do with police work as we expect in a police procedural. There is little or no procedure here.

I just found the books hilarious. They cracked me up. So I guess it just boils down to the often unexplainable reason one person laughs at a joke and another doesn't.

As far as Hackman Blues goes, be reassured it has nothing in common with the Whtie Trilogy, in character, content or style. It's a first person account from an unreliable narrator, a wacko hardcase.

Speaking of hardcases, I've just started Strongarm by Dan J Marlowe. Based on only two chapters, Pete Karma seems like he'll be as nasty as his other heroes.

Oh, Richard, just out of curiosity, why did you choose those particular books to reread from the many in the Dan Fortune series? I read them all a long time ago and enjoyed them very much, but they have kind of blended in my mind. So why those two?


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