RARA-AVIS: Westlake as Coe

From: Larson, Craig ( Craig.Larson@tsjc.cccoes.edu)
Date: 08 Oct 2001

I read the first Mitchell Tobin mystery, _Kinds of Love, Kinds of Death_, over the weekend. The book is by Tucker Coe, another pseudonym of Donald E. Westlake's. It was a good book, with a former policeman who quit in disgrace called upon to solve a mystery within "the organization."

Tobin struck me as a character very similar to Parker, although he's on the side of right. He's a no-nonsense, hard-nosed guy who insists that he won't do anything shady when he's hired to find out who killed a crime boss' mistress and stole some money, and he holds to this. Tobin is very much in the mode of "ultra-realism" that Westlake used for his protagonist in _The Ax_, which is about as close to a how-to manual for committing murder as I've ever read, and all the more chilling because of it.

I guess what I was thinking, after reading the Westlake posts over the past couple of days, is that it must be really hard to break out and write something out of character. Coe is obviously in the same vein as Richard Stark. I've been buying the Samuel Holt books recently--I'll have to see if they depart sufficiently from the mold. The Westlake who wrote the Dortmunder books is obviously a different guy, although these books, the more I read them, seem to almost fit into the "Stark lite" mode. Does any of that make sense?

Craig Larson Trinidad, CO

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 Oct 2001 EDT