RARA-AVIS: Re: Big hardboiled epics

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 28 Sep 2004


Re your questions below:

> On the other hand, I do like epics: huge, involved stories with
lots of
> people, spanning years or decades, where you really get to know
> and you don't just see them in a moment of crisis, you get to see
> whole lives.

If you're not limiting "epic" to a multi-volume work, I think Dorothy Uhnak's multi-generational novel about the NYPD, LAW & ORDER, would qualify. Joseph Wambaugh's first novel, THE NEW CENTURIONS, only covers about five or six years, but it still might qualify under your defintion. On the other side of the fence, there's Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER. Larry Collins's BLACK EAGLES spans two decades in the lives of a DEA agent and a CIA agent working at cross-purposes. Robert Littel's massive espionage novel, THE COMPANY, which I highly recommend, covers nothing less than the entire Cold War from the POV of several generations of CIA and KGB agents.
> Are there any hardboiled epics? I don't mean series, where each
novel is
> pretty much a self-contained unit, usually with a hero who gets
mixed up
> in a crime and solves it and then goes home. I mean something like
> Ellroy's LA Quartet, which is the only example that comes to mind.
> don't know if he intended it to be four parts when he started, but
> hangs together as one big work (albeit one that gets freakier as it
> along) and by the end it's like you've known Pete Bondurant all
your life.
> Same for his next books, AMERICAN TABLOID and THE COLD SIX
> the next one which I think is supposed to wrap up his history.

If you mean ONLY multi-volume works, I'm surprised no one's mentioned Max Allan Collins's Nate Heller series. While the novels are self- contained, aspects of one affect the other, and they cover a period of decades, as Heller moves from the Depression-era '30's to the swinging '60's and, in sharp contrast to Nero and Archie, actually ages in the process. The first three novels in the series, TRUE DETECTIVE, TRUE CRIME, and THE MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, form a separate work which Collins calls his "Nitti Trilogy."

You also might want to try John Gardner's three volume "Secret" trilogy, THE SECRET GENERATIONS, THE SECRET HOUSES, and THE SECRET FAMILIES, about an American and a British family, related by marriage, who each serve democracy in their respective countries' espionage services. It covers historical events from just before WW1 until the early '60's. They're peripherally connected with Gardner's Herbie Kruger series.

Len Deighton's long-running, inter-connected novels about Bernard Samson, GAME-SET-MATCH, HOOK-LINE-SINKER, etc., might qualify.

And, while I'm not sure they'd qualify as hard-boiled, even given my fairly broad definition, you might consider John Le Carre's "Karla Trilogy," TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY, and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. Karla, if memory serves, is something of a gray eminence in the other Smiley novels as well.


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~-->
$9.95 domain names from Yahoo!. Register anything. http://us.click.yahoo.com/J8kdrA/y20IAA/yQLSAA/kqIolB/TM

RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Sep 2004 EDT