RARA-AVIS: Recent readings

From: Mario Taboada ( matrxtech@yahoo.com)
Date: 06 Sep 2001

Nothing Personal, by Jason Starr. I owe profuse thanks to Capt'n Bill for recommending this author. The novel is bitterly satyrical, suspenseful, brilliantly stylish
(Charles Williams comes to mind, and I don't make the comparison lightly). An author to keep an eye on.

Backflash, by Richard Stark. An effective Parker novel, in which our hero and cohorts rob a casino boat on the Hudson. Terrific (and typical) final scene with Parker finishing off a dangerous loser.

Aside: is it really possible to pick a handcuff lock with a paper clip, especially when the handcuffs are in one's back?

Don't Ask, by Donald Westlake. An irresistible caper with bone. I am now pairing Dortmunder and Parker novels on the reading list. Dortmunder has to deal with a boat, too, but there the similarities end. Except that Dortmunder is bent on exacting revenge for a professional humiliation -- something that Parker would do if mad enough.

Barking Butterflies, by Evan Hunter. A volume of short stories published by Five Star (already discussed). I read this one in one sitting. Taut, precise writing, with Hunter's usual lucidity and attention to detail. The very first story in the collection, First Offense, strikes me as a masterpiece of the genre.

You Could Call It Murder, by Lawrence Block. A hardboiled P.I. novel from 1961, featuring one Roy Markham. Originally on Belmont, reissued by Carroll & Graf. At the tender age of 22 or 23, Block was already in command of the full arsenal. Parts of this book are dynamite. I note with pleasure that Block is *not* imitating Chandler.

That's all for this (approximately) bi-weekly report.




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