Re: RARA-AVIS: Themes of the Months

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 05 Aug 2002

Joy wrote:

"I liked the book so much that instead of next reading another new-to-me British author I opened _The Crust on Its Uppers._ Unless somebody gives me a pep talk, I'm going to put it aside at page 21. It's written 20 years earlier. It's full of rhyming slang, past what even the glossary could help, which gets tedious fast."

Joy, as much of a fan as I am of later Derek Raymond/Robin Cook, I was not thrilled by Crust on It's Uppers, either. It felt to me like Cook couldn't decide whether he was writing a Catcher in the Rye story of youth and class alienation or a Ted Lewis style crime novel (yes, I know this book pre-dates any of Lewis's books); I'm not saying that couldn't be very well done, but here it seemed like two different books grafted together. And it has led me to hesitate to read the other Robin Cook books I've managed to find (Legacy of the Stiff Upper Lip, State of Denmark, Private Parts anf Public Places).

However, I do recommend everything he wrote after his hiatus, when he came back as Derek Raymond -- the 5 Factory novels, Not Until the Red Fog Rises and Hidden Files, Raymond's thoughts on the "black novel."


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