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

Date: 04 Feb 2002

In a message dated 2/4/02 1:12:23 PM, writes:

<< I'd have to throw in with the group that likes the stand alones best, >>

    It takes considerable talent to write any significant number of books, especially books in the same genre, and not get stale, or repeat yourself, or settle for a tale of little value. Series or no series, many fine writers don't have the capacity for endless invention. Leonard who has featured characters in more than one novel, but who has avoided doing a series, is quick to admit that his books are really all about "the same guy," and many of us on this list believe that even the great Elmore has had problems staying fresh.
    The Ellroy books all have a sameness about them, an evolving sameness and a fascinating sameness, but sameness nonetheless. The first novel, Brown's Requiem, contained all of the Ellroy staples that we found ourselves wading through in each subsequent book: over-the-top violence, corruption, exploitation of women and minorities, rotten cops, racism, homophobia, booze and drugs, a highly desirable but out of reach woman, and not a single admirable character in sight. Nevertheless, for a long while Ellroy got stronger with each book.
    The difficult chore is to keep doing it better each time, and that is damned tough duty for any writer whether he/she is doing a series or creating one of a kind's.

                                        Jim Blue

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