Re: RARA-AVIS: Harry O & Rockford: Literary Influences Coming and Going

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 23 Aug 2003

<<Damn few contemporary fictional detectives measure up by today's standards of 'tough'.>>

Time to switch to the procedural? If you want something more realistic, more lived, people like Wambaugh and Bill James, for example, have done superb, unsentimental work.

The fattened up and softened up PI novel has done little to further the genre. It has gained it some readers, but at what price?

I was thinking about this while picking up Block's_Hope to Die_ and reading a couple more chapters. Technically good writing, but with a clear tendency to the common denominator, to a comfortable composite of (what I assume are) generic reader preferences. I mention Block because he is one of the best current PI writers. If the best are doing this, what can we expect from the genre as a whole?

I don't have a clear idea, or any statistics, about who reads PI novels today (sex, economic class, age). Can the walking encyclopedias of Rara-Avis enlighten me on this? Since we all write to sell, the topic may be relevant to the health of this august aviary (AA).




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