RARA-AVIS: Killing Time and Red Harvest

From: Juri Nummelin ( jurnum@utu.fi)
Date: 26 Oct 2001

On Fri, 26 Oct 2001, Mark Sullivan wrote:

> As long as we're listing Red Harvest's progeny, let's not forget
> Westlake's (second? at least under his own name) Killing Time.

His second novel, yes, and a progeny of "Red Harvest" (which, in my opinion, is one of the best ten), but not a very good one. I found it implausible at times and a bit confused. But the lead character is a very sympathetic corrupt PI, who wakes up to see what's going on.

As for Hammett's "Harvest", I can understand it is dull to someone. It's so tense and brief that readers who like deep characterizations
(bloated, if you ask me) that are so popular in crime and thriller genre nowadays. But they are wrong and they should read more Hammett.

I'm currently reading Ellroy's "White Jazz" (the translation just appeared) and am amazed by how short characterizations can be. A marvellous book, and actually a good translation, now I finally understood just how and why some things happen. In the original version, I was often left wondering what was going on. Ellroy's scat style is not very clear, but it gets me hooked everytime.


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