Re: RARA-AVIS: reverse of the cliche

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 08 May 2002

--- Bludis Jack <> wrote:
> Doug said:
> > I am still waiting for someone to write a
> > hardboiled novel in which the protag. is a
> psychotic killer and his sidekick is a sarcastic,
> > wisecracking PI.
> Jim Doherty responded:
> >How about Mike Hammer and Velda? Mike's edged
> toward the psychotic a time or two . . . And
> >while his secretary, Velda, doesn't crack
> >wise all that often, she IS an honest-to-God
> >licensed PI.
> Good observation, Jim:
> Although Mike Hammer is important in the history
> of PI fiction, he is also one of its most vicious
> characters on either side of the law.
> Mike Hammer = Vigalante sadist
> It works for many if not most PI readers through.

Sure works for me -- I like Spillane, when he's on.

As for citing him here -- nah. Close but no cigar. IMO the cliche was really formed in the mid/late Seventies with the success of Spenser/Hawk, and so my imaginary book would have to be post-Parker.

As for ONE LONELY NIGHT, my pet theory about that book is that the first chapter is brilliant, maybe the best piece of writing Spillane ever did. (The whole
"walking across the bridge in the rain" bit.) It should have been published as a stand-alone short story. Unfortunately the rest of the novel is pretty lame and dated, the worst of Spillane's first run. But that first chapter is a killer.


===== Doug Bassett

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