RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Recent reading

From: Duane Swierczynski ( duane.swier@verizon.net)
Date: 10 Jun 2004

I've been lucky--I've enjoyed a string of excellent books:

TWO-WAY SPLIT by Allan "Sunshine" Guthrie: I've read two truly great hardboiled novels this year, and this is one of them. Funny, ass-kicking, brutal, and with a protagonist (Pearce) you'll want to adopt. Full disclosure: Al is my editor, but I'd say the same thing, even if I didn't know him. (Come to think of it, thank God I don't have to pretend I like his stuff...)

THE DRAMATIST, by Ken Bruen. This is my other favorite hardboiled novel of the year. It's fourth in the Jack Taylor series, available from Ken's Irish publisher, Brandon. (We're only up to #2 here in the U.S., with KILLING OF THE TINKERS.) One of the last sequences is the most devestating thing I've ever read. I actually dropped the book when I read it.

NIGHT OF THE TOADS, by Michael Collins: I've never read any Dan Fortune, and this was a superb introduction. I felt like I was dropped right in the middle of New York City in the early '70s. I'm surprised this series isn't praised more.

BAIT MONEY, by Max Allan Collins. I found the first three "Nolan" novels in Pinnacle paperbacks, and they're really crackin' reads. The Richard Stark influence is obvious, but Collins makes it his own. (Hard Case Crime is reprinting the first two novels as TWO FOR THE MONEY this fall.)

BLACK DAHLIA AVENGER, by Steve Hodel. This should have nabbed the Edgar, in my humble opnion. There's a bombshell every couple of pages, and tons of small details that Rara-Avians will appreciate. (For instance, Fred Sexton, the artist who designed the "Black Bird" statue from THE MALTESE FALCON, is alleged to have helped Steve's father in the Dahlia torture and killing.)


Duane Swierczynski

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