RE: RARA-AVIS: Someone who doesn't like Pelecanos

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 06 Jul 2004

John wrote:

". . . while following the Hammett model can lead to more cutting edge work i.e. Jack O'Connell."

John, I'm not sure I understand how O'Connell follows the Hammett model. It seems to me he has little in common with either Chandler or Hammett. I'm not sure why, and I know I can't articulate it, but his books somehow seem almost European to me -- an odd merging of surrealism and German expressionism, perhaps, all warped through an American lens.

I think we may be applying this Hammett vs. Chandler thing too rigidly, especially to contemporary writers. Sure, some very consciously place themselves within the tradition of one, the other, or both, but many have gotten so far from their ancestors, mixed with so many others, that it's hard to see the family resemblance.


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