RARA-AVIS: Recent reads

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 04 Mar 2002

Well, things do seem quiet around here ... too quiet.
[ominous pause]. Luckily, removing quiet is my forte.

It's going to be a hell of a while before I'll have the spare reading time to be able to do it only for pleasure, so I thought I'd talk about some of my more recent reads & throw them out for discussion (in case any one else out there is also awake).
"Such Men Are Dangerous" - Lawrence Block. This one is the goods, absolutely. Everyone who praised it up was right. The narrator/protagonist Paul Kavanagh makes Parker look like a wuss.Considering that there are only about 3 brief violent scenes in the book, the bodycount is phenomenal. This book is dark AND tough - I think it fits both of Jim D's definitions for noir & hardboiled.
"The Skin Palace" - Jack O'Connell. I dunno. I know many here as well as many else where have a very high opinion of his stuff, "future of noir"
& all that, but I just can't get into him. I've read another by him, forget which for the moment, & they both left me cold.De gustibus etc.
"Dead City" & "Go Down Dead" - Shane Stevens. I picked these 2 up because of strong recommendations here & from Paul Duncan's Pocket Essentials Noir booklet. They're both excellent noirish stuff. "Dead City" is almost like a gangster "Bridge at San Luis Rey" in that the end for the 2 main characters - a has-been & an up&comer pair of low level Mafia soldiers seems inevitable & the story is following the journey they made on their way to their demise. "Go Down Dead" is a very bleak melodrama about a young black gang leader, a little reminiscent of
"Corner Boy", (written by someone who's name will finally occur to me 3 seconds after I send this e-mail off) but more brutal.
"The Inside Man" - E Richard Johnson. Again, I picked this one up because several rare-birds think very highly of this guy, which is the best reason I can think of to pick up a book by someone you haven't read, & it was Ok but I can't say it blew me away. I may have been expecting too much or perhaps this isn't his best stuff? Anyhow, there's more I've read in recent times but I'll leave it there for now - I've hogged more than enough bandwidth in the last month. Luckily for everyone I'm now a busy person & don't have as much time to send off epic posts - someone else will have to take up the cudgel.


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