RARA-AVIS: Mysterious (Hardboiled?) Poets

From: Reed Andrus ( rsandrus@swbell.net)
Date: 09 Apr 2002

A couple of comments, perhaps only marginally on-topic. First, I read The Church of Dead Girls, found it to be very well-written, heavily noir rather than hard-boiled (some reviewers and/or critics have cited its horror elements; personally, I didn't find much connection), and slow-going. I wasn't particularly moved to read Dobyns' second offering in this vein -- the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Second, you're dismissing _all_ mysteries written by poets based on this single book? That's similar to dismissing the entire John Sandford/Lucas Davenport series as serial killer novels on the basis of reading one book. You might want to find Death and the Good Life by Richard Hugo (St. Martins, 1981), or some of Michael Cadnum's output (notably his YA novel, Calling Home, published by Viking in 1991; most of his other books are horror/dark fantasy, but well worth your time). I'm sure there are other poetical exceptions that fall into the hardboiled/noir camp.

... Reed

> Richard Moore < Moorich2@aol.com> noted: "I also picked up several by Stephen
> Dobyns, a writer who has recently caught my eye. One I am excited about
> reading was one of his "mainstream" novels but it looks very much in line
> with our focus. The title: THE CHURCH OF DEAD GIRLS. I liked the opening.
> Without giving anything away as to plot, are there any out there who have
> read this one and have an opinion?"
> I read a couple of his horseracing books years ago and found them short of
> plot. He's a poet, I decided poets can't write mysteries, and I haven't read
> any fiction written by poets since then. How's his plotting these days? Did
> I write him off too soon?
> Joy, who can do either her taxes or her 20 best by 4/15

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