Re: RARA-AVIS: "Red Harvest" and characterization

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 30 Oct 2001

On Tue, 30 Oct 2001, Carrie Pruett wrote:

> I don't read mystery/crime novels for the "puzzle" or the plot
> or even the style, though they can be a bonus.

Style is what engages me. But what is the most important thing to me is the portrait of the world, depicted through dialogue and action. This is what grabs me in the whole world of hardboiled, be it a film or a book, that everything necessary is portrayed through dialogue and action. The economy of everything - that's the beauty of it.

But as for puzzles or mysteries, couldn't care less. There are some exceptions: Westlake's first, "The Mercenaries", and Ellroy's L.A. Quartet books. Maybe Chandler's "The Long Goodbye", since it's so tightly woven. Ross Macdonald, also. But not most of Chandler or certainly not Hammett interest me with their mysteries or puzzles. The view of the world is everything.

> Hmm, Demolition Angel is one I might say IS on the bloated side in terms of
> dwelling on the character's past trauma. This is the kind of book you
> usually get way down the road in a series when the author thinks "I'm out of
> things for Joe Bob to do, let's put him in therapy!"

Well, I've read just hundred pages of it and am mildly getting bored with Carol Starkey's trauma. There are also some redundancies in writing and some non-necessities, too.


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