Re: RARA-AVIS: Big Question

From: Cristoforo (
Date: 19 Dec 2001

John wrote:

> I'd suggest picking up THE BLACK DAHLIA, which although part of the L.A.
> quartet, stands alone, as do all of the 4 really. It's a good example of
> everything the guy does well, along with all his excesses. One can pretty
> much decide how one will feel about Ellroy from that.
> Check that. THE BIG NOWHERE is probably better as a whole.

I'd go as far to say that Ellroy's L. A. Quartet should be required reading for any hardboiled fan, but it you only read one of the four, I'd opt for the Black Dahlia over the Big Nowhere. From my POV it had a tighter narrative and was more accessible than the Big Nowhere. Also, it's the first chronologically. (althoughs not technically a series)

I'm not a huge fan of series either, but Stark's Parker series is great (and the first, Payback, is a classic). And you'd be doing yourself a disservice to overlook Willeford's Hoke Mosely series. And on a slightly more obscure note, the Matt Helm books are also great, as nasty as the Dean Martin movies are not.


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