Re: RARA-AVIS: sidekicks

From: Teri Stock (
Date: 13 Nov 2001

I seldom post as I am not very articulate nor very well read in the genre, but I feel compelled to post in support of the "sociopathic" sidekick. I find them a fascinating addition to the story and an inevitable one, in that the hero has at some point made a choice to live outside the law. It seems logical that sidekicks would come from those who also are outlaws. Much of the tension in the Easy Rawlins mysteries comes from Easy keeping one eye on his enemies and the other on Mouse, who is always a danger. These protagonists make a moral choice in choosing to associate with Win, Mouse or Hawk just as important as the moral choice they would make in taking the actions done by the sidekicks and they pay a price in their souls for that choice.

Even more interesting to me are the flawed villains, most notably in the Robicheaux books. Dave often seems to be confronting a villain whom he likes a lot, and has caused me to like a lot, but who eventually must be confronted. Where is the line between the villain and Clete Purcell? What distinguishes the outlaw allies from the outlaw enemies seems to me to be at the heart of these books and that tension contributes greatly to their resonance.


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