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

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 24 Aug 2003

Kevin, I don't yearn for the good old days. As you say, there was a lot of bad --even ridiculously bad-- stuff published in the purported golden age of the PI novel (and story).

The top crime writers of today can compete easily, technically and thematically, with the Chandlers and the Hammetts. I am thinking of veterans like Leonard, Westlake, Block and Gores, as well as less veteran writers like Sallis, Mosley, Ellroy and Starr, among many. And did the golden age have a Constantine?

I like PI novels to have fleshed-out characters and realistic, interesting situations (with social ramifications, if the topic allows). The problem is not that some writers are using a broader canvas, but that they are overfilling the same small canvas -- to the detriment of their stories.

For example, Hope to Die (which I finished this afternoon) has a good story in it --Block is an honest writer who doesn't write unless he has a story. But the ramifications and extraneous material strike me as filler, not as an ambitious broadening of the genre.

I hope we understand one another now. What I have said is the truth.



"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Mark Twain

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