RE: RARA-AVIS: Crime fiction series - Vachhs et al

From: Anderson, Erick (ETW) (
Date: 04 Feb 2002

        Rene wrote:

> Andrew Vachhs : can't get into the Burke books either, Mike R, my main
> problem being his band of merry helpers an extremely unlikely assortment
> of characters, all from the "streets" (more like old Doc Savage pulps,
> just tarted up modern neo-noir style - I mean to say, Max the
> Silent,"Jeezus Crisuz!" as a Polish lady friend of mine used to
> say).Having said that I've read a couple of excellent shorts by the man
> & his stand alone novel "Shella" I like a hell of a lot. I've noticed
> others on this list share my opinions re: Vachhs, Burke & "Shella".
I'd have to throw in with the group that likes the stand alones best,
(McBain's best books are non-87th Precinct, IMHO) although there are innumerable exceptions: I will confess to having read and reread in order all of Parker's Spenser and all of John D.'s Travis McGee -- kind of light reading; likely what Eric Ambler meant when he said "entertainments". Some series don't make me feel so _used_as Vachhs, do: Hammett's Continental Op, Cheyney's Slim Callaghan, Latimer's Bill Crane, and Max Allan Collins' Nate Heller, among others I've read. I think it must be a special talent to write series that don't get stale. Slim Callaghan and Bill Crane hold up really well, but the Vachhs I've read make me feel like he's kind of a one trick pony (yeah, I'll probably catch hell for that one). While I'm bashing Vachhs, I agree with Rene about the cast of characters: half Baker Street Irregulars and half circus mutants. Kinky Freidman does it too, though for some reason his cast of regulars doesn't bother me nearly as much (that special talent again?).

Best Regards, Erick

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