Re: RARA-AVIS: Peedie's Polemic

From: Joy Matkowski (
Date: 27 May 2002

MrT expounded: "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."
So, what do you think of KCC's Rugs series? I am enthralled. Somehow I couldn't relate to Balzic--he seemed perpetually grouchy and hung out with the mob guys too much for my taste. And KCC's books seem to be getting more densely real to me, so much like small-city Pennsylvania that I've given a stack of them to a friend who works "for Harrisburg." And when did he start writing his books without chapters? I wonder if he's always done that and I never noticed.
    And what's his real name and real hometown? The usual sources don't say.



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