RE: RARA-AVIS: Garden of Sand

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 08 Jan 2002

hi mark,

you have a point. i knew from reading _burnt orange heresy_ and
_the killer inside me_ that a detective wasn't necessary, so i stuck my foot in my mouth when i sounded like i thought it was.

however, although detectives or police don't play a major role in the above books, the major plot still revolves around crime, and i guess more so than a detective, i was thinking (in error) that that was a necessary ingredient of hardboiled lit. i guess crime of one sort or another was always going on in _garden of sand_, but i (hmm... maybe mistakenly, now that i'm forced to think about it.) didn't see it as central to the plot.

i'm glad you brought up the other books by him. i've read _tattoo_ and _caldo largo_, but i hadn't heard of _the devil to pay_.

i didn't much care for _tattoo_. my thought upon finishing it is that he should have called it _jack's dick_. too much concentration on sex. i thought it vulgar, and not in the "oh my god that's disgusting" prudish sense of the word, but more in a "common" definition. he strayed from his brilliant portrayal of the human struggle (sorry. its a poor phrase but all i can come up with now.) in _garden of sand_.

there are isolated scenes in _garden of sand_ that are etched in my mind, like jack peeking in the tiny hell-hole apartment of the drug addicts when they came to drag them away. or when... no, i'm not gonna give that scene away.

i liked caldo largo though. it was exciting and humorous and, in places, cruel. the guy wanting to buy the old lady an alligator bag was mean humor.

thanks for commenting, mark.


******************************************************** Miker, There are hard boiled books that don't have detectives, such as most of Willeford or Jim Thompson works. IMO, the late Earl Thompson's Garden of Sand is, or comes pretty close. In case you didn't know, his Tattoo is a direct sequel. I don't think it has the drive of the earlier book, but you should love it. In his next book, The Devil to Pay, Jack Wild's name has been changed to Jarl Carlson, but it is clearly the same character. Thompson also wrote Caldo Largo which not as not as clearly based on the author's life. Mark

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