From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 17 Jan 2003

About 30 pages into W.L. Heath's VIOLENT SATURDAY I realized that it reminded me of O'Hara's APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA. They both fit into the
"social history" slot. What does that mean? From what I can tell, it means that beyond the plot the author is attempting to accurately portray people and their surroundings in a certain era. In the case of these two books, both authors demonstrate a willingness to stray from the plot in order to accomplish this goal. Although I found it refreshingly different and entertaining, the style definitely diverges from the more typical hardboiled insistence on following the plot like a bloodhound's nose to the trail. Comparing the two authors, I found Heath to be a sharper and more perceptive observer than O'Hara. His depiction of poor old Elsie Cotter and the hotel porter Sugar is pure gold. Heath is also better than O'Hara at coloring and depth to the surroundings:

"They had been brought up in old homes, where there were cherry corner cupboards and sugar chests, and crystal that had come down the French Broad River and survived the Civil War."

Along with the inevitable criticism that arises from deviating from the plot, VIOLENT SATURDAY has more inner monologues than any book I've read in a long time that's written in the third person.

With all this said, although the book might meander a bit on it's way to the end, it is a wild, savage ending well worth the wait. A good and enjoyable book.


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