RARA-AVIS: Recent readings & what to read next

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 28 May 2002

I just finished reading Kent Anderson's SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL which I'd picked up on the vague recollection that Anderson had been heavily touted by one or more rare birds. A big 2 thumbs up to whoever those birds were because this is a mighty fine book, IMO. Although the novel is almost exclusively set in the Vietnam War I think of it as being very definitely as much noir as belonging in the genre of realistic novels of war - certainly there's enough criminality in it to make it qualify technically (Which brings to mind a great noir/war movie I saw many years ago, ATTACK, directed by Robert Aldrich). Do I recall correctly that the lead character, Hanson, is the protagonist of NIGHT DOGS as well? Either way, NIGHT DOGS is high on my list of books to find & read. I also read Elroy's THE COLD SIX THOUSAND. All I can say here is that I've already wasted too much time in reading this book & I won't compound that waste by talking about it any more than I already have. I've read the first two novels in a John Franklin Bardin omnibus, THE DEADLY PERCHERON & THE LAST OF PHILIP BANTER & I'm just starting DEVIL TAKE THE BLUE TAIL FLY which is supposed to be his masterpiece. I greatly enjoyed the 1st 2 novels - the nearest writer to compare him to would be Fredric Brown. If you're familiar with, & like, Brown's criminous books you should seek the aforementioned. For me an amusing coincidence is that a character in THE DEADLY PERCHERON whistles "Pistol Packin' Mama" which, IIRC, was a hit for Spade Cooley, western swing bandleader & erstwhile minor Elroy character. (Spade had a bass player who was a dog lover, in as literal a sense as Elroy could make it. Just thought I'd throw that in, re: hardboiled cats'n'dogs threads of the past). Two books staring back at me from the top of Mt To-Be-Read: GBH by Ted Lewis & AGREEMENT TO KILL by Peter Rabe. Anyone read either of these & what did they think?


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