RARA-AVIS: Recent reading

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 26 Apr 2004

Terrill Lee Lankford, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER (2004). Ed Gorman's review was mentioned, and he said "this is the best crime novel I've read in a long, long time, a melancholy, true account of a lonely life not unlike the Philip Marlowe's in THE LONG GOODBYE." I don't want to embarrass Mr. Lankford, but I thought it was excellent. It fits in with the old Hollywood noirs (Chandler and others on paper and film), following on from them and drawing on them--and ranking with the best of them--but Mr. L. stakes out some new territory and makes it his own. If you haven't read Gorman's review you might want to skip it because he gives away some details that are more enjoyable if they come as a surprise.

George P. Pelecanos, HARD REVOLUTION (2004). Mr. Smith gave the URL to his review, and I think the book is as good as he said, and I didn't even get the free CD. I certainly didn't think his last few were weak, like some do. Read all his stuff. Pelecanos lays it down in this one, and you should hear it.

Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake), THE RARE COIN SCORE (1967). I paid
$25 for this at the pulp show here in Hogtown Saturday, and it smells of mothballs. But it's worth it, because it's 144 pages of hard, fast, Parker action. He's restless, and he gets involved with some amateurs on a caper where they'll take the best stuff from a coin dealer's convention.

It follows a common Parker structure: two parts of planning, one part where the narrative focus shifts to other characters and we see the heist and the mistakes, and a final part where Parker does what he has to do to get the money and get out. This is the book where Parker meets Claire, with whom he's lived ever since.

We talked about codes. He's an example of Parker's: "He'd send one quarter [of the take] to X's contact and one quarter to Y's, not because either of them would turn state's evidence if he didn't but merely because he'd expect them to do the same for him if the situation were reversed." Another aspect of his code is shown, too: mess with him and he'll kill you.

I've been able to read some excellent stuff recently.

Welcome to new rare bird Ms. Jones! And thanks to Mr. Doherty for his review of Garfield's RELENTLESS.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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