Re: RARA-AVIS: Recent Acquistions

Date: 06 Sep 2001

Re George's question below:

> THE HARD HIT and DEATH OF A BIG MAN, John Wainwright
> The former about a hit man, the latter about a
> corrupt
> cop. Anyone know these or this author?

I haven't read *The Hard Hit*, but *Death of a Big Man* is NOT about a corrupt cop. At least it's not about a cop who compromises his principles or takes bribes. The lead character, Retired Chief Superintendant Ripley, was Wainwright's most frequently used character during the early part of his writing career.

The book opens as we find Ripley, wheelchair-bound after being crippled in the line of duty in a previous book, musing about the criminal he was never able to nail. The rest of the book is about how he tries
(without any official position) to nail him.

Wainwright is, without qualification, the best professional cop writing cop novels today. Before becoming a full-time writer, he put in two decades as a constable in the County Constabulary of Yorkshire's West Riding. His books are hard and authentic, but tinged with compassion. His writing style is immediate and gripping. His one drawback is that, apparently compulsively driven to write constantly, he's awfully prolific, and when you step up to the plate that often, you can't expect to hit a home run every time. At his best, though, there's no one on either side of the Pond who's better.

One of the finest police procedurals ever written is his *All on a Summer's Day*.


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