Re: RARA-AVIS: Jim Doherty's Favorites

Date: 01 Oct 2002


Re your comments below:

> My own police procedural month experience was
> disappointing on the whole,
> which is why I haven't posted much. But, for what
> it's worth, and briefly,
> here's what I read:
> Jerome Charyn: MARILYN THE WILD - Don't know to
> what extent this is a
> procedural. It certainly features cops, but it
> never grabbed my attention.
> Couldn't finish it.

I've never read Charyn, but your experience corresponds to a lot of comments I've heard, which may be why I've never tried them.
> John Wainwright: DIG THE GRAVE AND LET HIM LIE -
> Jim claims that Wainwright
> "doesn't belt it out of the park every time he steps
> up to bat." This was a
> fresh-air shot (don't know the baseball terminology,
> sorry).

Is "fresh-air shot" a Cricket term? And if so, does that mean you liked it or not? This is a Wainwright I haven't read yet.
> Ed McBain: KILLER'S CHOICE - One of the early 87th
> precinct novels. This
> one introduces Cotton Hawes. Not one of McBain's
> better efforts (spoiled by
> featuring, as a key witness, a young child with a
> ridiculously advanced
> vocabulary).

In a recent article (in fact, it may have been the intro to a reprint edition of KILLER'S CHOICE) McBain reveals that he introduced Hawes at the behest of Pocket Books (the origianl publisher of the series), which wanted a handsome, unmarried character introduced to take over Carella's "first-among-equals" position. The theory was that readers would respond better to a hero who was more like a bachelor private eye than a suburban schlub, however gorgeous his wife.
 Apparently, McBain had misgivings about this, and it probably showed in the finsihed book.
> Disillusioned at this point I returned to an old
> favourite:
> William McIlvanney: LAIDLAW - McIlvanney's writing
> reeks of authenticity.
> He writes about people and places with the
> assuredness you might expect of a
> former Whitbread Award winner (DOCHERTY).
> Evocative, realistic, brutal,
> tender and unsentimental - and hardboiled by most
> definitions. In
> particular, his hard men are magnificently
> unromanticized. The story: the
> raped and murdered body of a young girl is found in
> a Glasgow park.
> Laidlaw, assisted by DC Harkness, is given free rein
> in his search for
> killer. A race against time develops as two other
> forces, neither benign
> nor legal, join the hunt for the killer.

As you agree about THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN, I agree about LAIDLAW.

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