Re: RARA-AVIS: Denise Hamilton

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 13 May 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: "Grimes" <> To: <> Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 10:42 PM Subject: RARA-AVIS: Denise Hamilton

> The L. A. Times published a rave profile today of L.A. mystery author
> Hamilton.
> (,2,540239.story).
> author of the profile and Hamilton herself explicitly place her in the
> lineage of Chandler and Ross Macdonald.
> Hamilton's three novels feature Eve Diamond, a "tough-but-vulnerable" L.A.
> Times reporter and alter ego for Hamilton, herself a former Times
> "I read Chandler and Macdonald, not because I wanted to write like
> middle-aged white guys in 1950s L.A.," Hamilton says. "My L.A. is a very
> multicultural place where fourth-generation Angelenos butt up against
> who've just come off a boat from somewhere. This is very grandiose of me,
> realize, but I wanted to update Chandler's tone and his noir feel for L.A.
> to a millennial, multicultural L.A. from a female perspective."
> I'm intrigued, but also wary: Hamilton's a former L.A. Times reporter,
> maybe the Times isn't an unbiased source. And calling an L.A.-based
> writer "the next Chandler" is a little too easy, like dubbing any scrawny
> kid with a gravelly voice, and a guitar "the next Dylan." Is anyone on
> list familiar with Hamilton? I found nothing in the archives.
> Also: do Chandler's novels - as opposed to the movies made from his
> novels - have a "noir feel" for L.A.?

There will never be a "next Chandler." This is pretentious-bullshit-as-marketing. Look at all the buzz-words: "millennial, multicultural L.A. from a female perspective." And then there's the obligatory dissing of the "middle-aged white guys in 1950s L.A." Then of course, there's the talking out of both sides of one's mouth: "This is very grandiose of me (no shit?), I realize, but I wanted to update Chandler's tone, blah, blah, blahdeblah." Yet in the line before that she says: "I read Chandler and Macdonald, not because I wanted to write like" the afforementioned middle-aged white guys. Well, what the hell is "updating someone's tone," if not WRITING LIKE THEM.

She wants to sell books. Good for her. She got her ex employers at the Times to write an uncritical vanity piece on her work. Also good for her. If she wants to "update Chandler and Macdonald," how does that make her any different than others who've done it before: Leigh Brackett, Joe Gores, Robert B, Parker, etc., etc.?

Answer: it doesn't.

But don't tell the folks at the LA Times that.

All the Best-


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