RARA-AVIS: jazz giants/Ellroy/Grisham

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 29 Nov 2001

Noting the discussion of jazz greats and their sordid lives -

made me think of "LA Confidential" (book). Who is it Vincennes is supposed to have thrown in a trash can, Charlie Parker? I was thinking Davis at first but that's probably a little anachronistic.

On the legal thriller front, I'm finishing up Don Winslow's "California Fire and Life" which comes at the law from an unusual angle (fire insurance investigation and "bad faith" suits). Though it contains certain glaring improbabilities, the cross-examination scenes are exceedingly well-done (not quite "My Cousin Vinny" but then what is? ; Winslow was apparently a PI/insurance investigator rather than a lawyer, but he obviously paid attention.

Grisham was actually a securities lawyer IIRC and probably never tried a case in his life, though per the introduction to "A Time to Kill" he used to spend a good deal of time in the local courthouse WATCHING cases. My take on Grisham is that he shows flashes of potential to be a good writer of thrillers (chase scenes in the firm), HB (there's a great scumbag burned-out lawyer scam artist in the Brethren), or local color (the rainmaker, and parts of the brethren). If he had more discipline or maybe a better editor he could write some decent books; but way too much of his fiction is too earnest or too lazy or too slick. He's crying all the way to the bank, of course.


"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge." - Raymond Chandler, "Red Wind."

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 29 Nov 2001 EST