RARA-AVIS: Recent Reads (WAS Peedie's Polemic)

From: George Upper ( gcupper3@yahoo.com)
Date: 27 May 2002

--- Kevin Burton Smith
< kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com> (to whom I still owe an article on Carroll John Daly, no I haven't forgotten) wrote:

> Meanwhile, anyone read anything good lately?

I've finished all the McGee novels now, and the last couple definitely didn't live up to the earlier work. I think the series probably peaked at THE TURQUOISE LAMENT, although there isn't a novel in the series that I wouldn't re-read.

I'm taking a little break from from MacDonald with a novel called DEATH ON THE MOVE by our own Mr. Crider. This is my second Crider, and I have one more on the shelf, which isn't going to satisfy me--I'm going to have to go a'hunting for more. This one is very different from the more light-hearted A DANGEROUS THING. Sheriff Rhodes intriques me. He's not the kind of character I usually like, but he's so well drawn that I can't help myself. Rhodes reveals so little about his own internal monologue (I usually prefer a little more melodrama, I guess) that I can't put the book down, waiting to find out what he's thinking.

A few months ago, the subject of small-town noir (did someone call it country noir, maybe?) came up. I wouldn't really call this novel noir--although I haven't finished it yet--but Bill includes some very dark elements for a small town setting: theft of jewelry from dead bodies at the local funeral parlor, an exquisitely disgusting corpse found in a local vacation home, a group of indigent locals forgotten about by the local power structure who keep to themselves off in the woods.

This is good stuff.

> I'm working my way through ENOUGH ROPE, Lawrence
> Block's upcoming
> morgue slab of a book, 900 pages of short stories,
> and once again I'm
> impressed by the sheer scope of his imagination.
> Somebody stop this
> guy before he uses up ALL the ideas!

I'm looking forward to this one. Honestly, he's such a great craftsman that I don't care if he uses up all the ideas. He'll use them up better than most others would.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal http://www.lightningbell.org/

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