RE: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled/Noir Commentary and Criticism

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 01 Aug 2002

Al said: Re "Murder Off the Rack". No good home (or boat, or tent) should be without one. From amazon: "Contributors and their subjects include Donald E. Westlake on Peter Rabe, Loren D. Estleman on Donald Hamilton, Bill Crider on Harry Whittington, Marvin Lachman on Ed Lacy, Max Allan Collins on Jim Thompson, Jon L. Breen on Vin Packer, George Kelley on Marvin H. Albert, Ed Gorman on Charles Williams, Will Murray on Don Pendleton and the Executioner series, and Dick Lochte on Warren Murphy."

Whilst you're at it, Mike, you might want to check out "Difficult Lives" by James Sallis. An excellent, if short, collection of essays on the noir triumvirate of David Goodis, Jim Thompson and Chester Himes. Sallis has also written a fairly recent major biography of Himes (haven't read it yet, so can't comment on it).

*************** Darn, Al! Talk about chewing on a big fat humility pill! I looked over the 10 masters it covers, and I've only read TWO of them, Williams and Thompson, and the only other one I had a passing familiarity with is Rene's buddy, Peter Rabe. But I've got the book coming. The summary for the book says that it has a list of the books covered at the end of each essay, so when I get it I'll start searching around for some of them.

And yes, I have got the _Difficult Lives_ book on my wish list. You've kinda put a different slant on it. I thought the book was essentially a short biography of each of the authors, but by the sound of your comments, it goes a bit farther than this. Thats good. At least I HAVE read all three of these guys. haha.

Also I noted a while ago on the list that there is a biography out on Jim Thompson with a lot of pictures from his life and a lot of his book covers, too. I was wondering if anybody had read this and if it was any good. It looks good. I can't name the author, though.


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