RARA-AVIS: Washington writers

From: abc@wt.net
Date: 02 Dec 2001

Since I talked about Robert Dietrich (E. Howard Hunt) at the Bouchercon, I guess I can say a few words here. First of all, I agree with Richard Moore that Dietrich's books about Steve Bentley are, at best, slightly above average. There are some things about them that might turn current readers off, one being the violent homophobia that crops up in more than one of them. I'd call the books medium-boiled, but here's a line that qualifies for hard-boiled I think. It's from the first book in the series, Murder on the Rocks: "When Cardena was a tank sergeant on Luzon he had pulled the head off a dead Jap to win a ten-cent bet." Considering the time the book was written, the "Jap" remark wouldn't have raised many eyebrows.
 There's some good local color writing in the books, and current Washington residents might enjoy them for the nostalgia trip to the town that used to exist. I like Hunt better as Gordon Davis. His Gold Medal book I Came to Kill is pretty darn good. As are two of his non-series books as Dietrich: Be my Victim and The End of the Road.

Bill Crider

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