From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 19 Aug 2002

MrT said: But Harris was not the first writer, or even the first suspense writer, to present such a breach. Despite the conventions of the era, some Gold Medals (to stay on topic, on some topic) present the bad guy in a good light
(sometimes as a hero), or at least on equal footing with the good guys. And Richard Stark has become legendary precisely because he makes you root for Parker and cohorts. While making you laugh, he also makes you root for Dortmunder and codogs. And he makes you root for the poor fellow in _The Ax_.

I have never been wholly convinced by Thomas Harris. Impeccable technique, fine sense of suspense, but for me, there is something very commercial about his books, something exploitive. He doesn't leave anything for me to contribute, from which I conclude, somewhat arbitrarily, that he is unsubtle.

************* Although the main good guy protagonist does occasionally defect to the bad guys in hardboiled, its about as common as virgin birth. And its not just Starling's defection, but also the magnitude of it, that is so stunning.

I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say his books are commercial and exploitive. How so more than anybody else? Are you referring to the sensationalism? And I'm not sure what you want to contribute. Are you talking about shaping the characters a bit in your own mind? I would say he's more than generous here... Has Starling become a pawn of Hannibal's, or is she aware of what she's doing? Is Hannibal crazy, or just a genius no longer tied to the norm? (And when I refer to him, I am talking about the Hannibal in HANNIBAL, and not about his appearances in the two earlier books. Although his
"tastes" didn't seem quite so particular in the earlier books, he appears to be on a diet in HANNIBAL, eating only the rude.)

And you say "commercial and exploitive" as if its a bad thing. ;-) Don't many of the excellent Gold Medals we're discussing this month come under this category?


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