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

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 07 Jul 2004

Bill wrote:

> : Brian hit it right on the head with the comment about Pelecanos'
> : characters: "the 'acting tough' as opposed to 'being tough' part."
> That's there because he's doing it intentionally. Terry Quinn, in those
> three books with Derek Strange, is acting tough. Strange *is* tough. I
> forgot the line exactly, but there's one bit where Strange sees someone
> across the street, takes his measure, and knows he can kick the guy's ass.
> He says something about how it feels good to know you can kick a man's
> ass. Quinn's unsure about that kind of thing, feels the need to act tough
> so he can prove it, and he pays for it.
> Of course, you might think the people who are supposed to be tough are
> just acting tough, in which case I can see why Pelecanos would let you
> down. But I don't read them that way. There's also the matter of wisdom:
> the tough ones are wise, and the ones putting on a show haven't gained the
> wisdom yet.

Actually, I was talking about all of Pelecanos' characters: the reneck drug mules, the gangstas, Strange, Quinn. The only ones who don't "act" tough are the women (any of them) with the possible exception of Strange's secretary and Quinn's ex-partner. To me, that part about Strange feeling good that he could kick that guy's ass rang hollow. And I don't just think that people who are supposed to be tough are just acting tough. I think people who are supposed to be tough just *are* tough. For me, it's like the difference between Hemingway's portrayal of "tough" and Spillane's portrayal of "tough."

Sometimes it's as simple as that.

All the Best-

Brian Thornton

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