Re: Writing the same book, over and over (was)RARA-AVIS: Chandler or Hammett

From: Miles Archer (
Date: 03 Dec 2003

on 12/3/03 10:18 AM, Bludis Jack at wrote:
> Parker's contribution, I think, is the domestic
> other life and the violent sidekick.

I'm not sure 'contribution' is the word I'd use. Hmmm... 'adulteration'?
'Pollution'? It'll come to me...

Suffice to say, I don't think much of either device, let alone their constant repetition from book to book.

Which brings this question to mind:

While we're members of this list because, perforce, we enjoy hardboiled, noir, (call-it-what-you-will) fiction, would anyone argue with me over this statement?

Many authors in the genre write the same book, over and over. (Of course, I'm not defining 'many', so take it to mean more than 50% of the whole.)

Is that what has served to make them popular? The readers' confidence when purchasing that they will get a 'type x' story from 'author Y'? (I'm thinking of the recently mentioned Parker, MacDonald(s), Spillane, et al. You could add Grafton, of course, and any number of others, although even Grafton does not repeat her literary devices quite as relentlessly as, say, Parker does. Short of character names, locations, and plot details, you could pretty much switch one Spenser book for another. I'd say the same for Travis McGee. (Make up your own list and insert here.)

Of course, there are any number of authors who write outside of the bibliography with which they are most closely identified. And, in point of fact, many authors resort to pen names for this very reason.

But I admit to flinching a bit when I hear certain authors/series/characters mentioned with unabashed enthusiasm. (Not that I'm accusing Jack of that. I wouldn't accuse Jack of anything.) It's just that I find their schtick gets old pretty fast.

Guess that's why they make chocolate _and_ vanilla.


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