RARA-AVIS: Police Procedurals -- Bill James

From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
Date: 12 Aug 2002

MrT writes of Bill James' Harpur & Iles books:

<< The psychological complexity of his characters, the
 beautiful coldness of his style, the real-life sloppiness
 of the cases, the moral ambiguity, and the realistic
 dialogue all contribute as much to the procedural genre as
 any amount of detail on procedure. This may sound
 exagerated, but I think James has invented something, has
 in effect renewed the genre. >>

I read about four Bill James' books maybe a year back. The earlier ones seemed more straightforward (though filled with conversational sniping), but some of the later ones seem especially odd and original. I wouldn't have called them realistic or real-life (though "beautiful coldness of ... style" seems right on the money), but rather something like vivid and fresh. The dialogue is too clever and mind-bending at times to be realistic per se (or perhaps I am conversing with the wrong people in my everyday life), but because of this (rather than in spite of), I'd recommend Bill James a lot.
(I'm a little wary of the critereon "realistic" for areas of the world on which I have little authority to judge.) Doug

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