Re: RARA-AVIS: Joe Gores

Date: 11 Nov 2001

George, Re your questions below:

> Is this [FINAL NOTICE] a typical DKA novel?
> . . . how does this novel
> stack up against his other work?

The first three DKA novels, all published in the early
'70s, form a kind of "DKA vs. the Mob" trilogy. They're more or less based on encounters Gores and his colleagues at David Kikkert & Associates had with Jimmy "the Weasel" Frattiano. My favorite of the three is the third, GONE - NO FORWARDING.

In the last few years there've been three new novels in the series, 32 CADILLACS; CONTRACT NULL & VOID; and, just out in the last few weeks, CONS, GRIFTS, & SCAMS, which is a direct sequel to 32 CADILLACS. Crippen & Landru has also published an excellent collection of all the DKA short stories (the series started in short story form in *EQMM* a few years before the first novel appeared) entitled STAKEOUT ON PAGE STREET & OTHER STORIES. All excellent, though the later novels tends to be, as noted by others, somewhat lighter than the first three.

Gores's best stand-alone in my opinion is INTERFACE, one of the best PI novels ever published (though it's not actually a stand-alone since the lead character, Neil Fargo, has since popped up in a short story). If DKA is Gores's Continental Detective Agency, then Fargo is Gores's Sam Spade and INTERFACE his MALTESE FALCON. That's actually a very apt comparison, by the way, since INTERFACE is one of the few novels I've ever read (FALCON is another), in which the author manages to sustain a totally objective
"camera/tape-recorder" prose style throughout.

Gores's first novel, A TIME OF PREDATORS, set in the suburban peninsula south of San Francisco, is also great. It won Gores a well-deserved Edgar for Best First Novel (he also won a second Edgar that same year for Best Short Story, "Goodbye, Pops," the first time two Edgars were given to the same writer in the same year). PREDATORS examines revenge themes that Gores's investigates a second time in DEAD MAN.

As someone who grew up in the Bay Area, let me assure his sense of place, and his depiction of The City and the surrounding area, is spot on.


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