RARA-AVIS: To Live and Die in L.A.

From: George Upper ( gcupper3@yahoo.com)
Date: 25 Sep 2001

One thing that I find interesting about L.A. is Robert B. Parker's obvious interest in the city although he doesn't actually set anything there. Parker lives in the Boston area of course, and sets his stuff there, although Spenser tends to fly around a lot, especially in the later books.

However, I can think of at least four trips to L.A. he's made, starting in *A Savage Place,* one of the last readable Spenser novels. There was no real reason why the story had to be set there that I can think of--it involved the movie industry, but could just as easily have involved banking or something else. Also, Jesse Stone, his new(er) police chief hero, hails from L.A. but now lives in Northern Mass.

Is L.A. the hard-boiled Mecca?

I once started a paper called "From L.A. to LA: Place in Hard-Boiled Fiction" that was going to center on Chandler and James Lee Burke. Unfortunately, the prospectus was shot down by my professor--it was a southern literature class, and he didn't buy my "but it's southern California!" argument.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal http://www.lightningbell.org/

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