Re: RARA-AVIS: Peedie's Polemic

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 27 May 2002

<<But having an emotional attachment to their career is only relevant if their career is under threat.>>

How do you reach that conclusion? Just to give one example, the operatives who work for Dan Kearny love reposessing cars, yet their careers are not under threat. Their emotional attachment to repomanhood is indeed relevant to how they operate, the risks they take, and so on. All of this quite independently of whether such an attachment helps or hinders their work and their lives.

For another example, Mario Balzic's emotional attachment to being a cop is at the very core of Constantine's creation, but again, there is no threat to Balzic's career -- though he saw retirement as a personal disaster. The man was invested in what he did, even if his wife had to rely on Betty Dodson (aside: and what other crime author has given such a realistic and fully human portrait of a couple?).

Since I got to generalizin', I have to say (the soapboxer's favorite cliché© that what does it for me in a crime novel is interesting characters coupled with interesting situations-- the situation can be anything, from how to deal with a mad Russian (KCC's Bottom Liner Blues) to how to deal with forced retirement in a corrupted city (KCC's Cranks and Shadows), to the world of informants and neurotic cops (Bill James's Gospel), to the dark doings of Howard Hughes and his cohorts (James Ellroy's novels). I don't care so much for a mystery, or even a specific crime, as the central point of a crime novel. Crime covers a lot of territory, to the point that you can have an atmosphere of crime when no crime has in fact been committed, or when such a crime can never be proven, or when the supposed investigator doesn't even care about solving it.

It's a broad criminal world out there.



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