RARA-AVIS: DARK RIDE, Kent Harrington

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 18 Jun 2003

I searched the rara-avis archives for "evil, nasty, wicked noir with lots of kinky sex and raging violence" and Harrington's DARK RIDE popped up. Mario has mentioned him several times and here recently I think Bill Denton spoke well of him.

DARK RIDE is aptly titled. It's difficult to not draw parallels. Resurrect Jim Thompson, set him up with a meth lab in a rundown trailer sitting by itself on some backwater Florida dirt road, read Cain's THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE to him and give him a typewriter.

Powerful, compelling, and very dark. It leads me to want to talk about the evolution of noir fiction and suggest that there hasn't been any. A thousand innovative variations perhaps, but no evolution. Maybe I'm just playing word games here by attempting to differentiate between a thousand innovations and evolution, but what I'm trying to say is that the basic formula of a loser trying desperately to better his position through crime and failing at the end was the heart and soul of the first noir and it remains alive and well today. Maybe that's so close to being the definition that moving outside would breach the genre.

I don't know. I'm not doing a very good job here. Let me bail on the big-picture comments and just say that Harrington's DARK RIDE has got a classic noir plot, including an ironic ending, with a contemporary amount of sex and violence.

If you like noir, I recommend this book. If you want noble, look elsewhere.



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