RARA-AVIS: MacDonald, Crumley, et al (was Re: THE IVORY GRIN/MARKED FOR MURDER)

From: Duane Spurlock ( duane1spur@yahoo.com)
Date: 30 Nov 2004

Richard Moore < moorich2@aol.com> wrote:
<< Off the top of my head, I'd say James Crumley is one very influential writer who pushed the PI novel into new directions and whose best work continues to be reprinted and win new fans and inspire other writers.
  I agree that Crumley is excellent and influential. I guess I see Sallis is following the more understated form or style of the tradition, which MacDonald represents to some degree. There's violence, yes, but its presentation is ... something I can't quite describe (need more caffiene) -- not dwelled upon, I guess.
  S P O I L E R
. Take the scene at the end of THE CHILL (I think that's the one), in which the mother kills herself with the knitting needles. If you think about it, that's pretty gruesome. But MacDonald handles it in such a way that I actually had to read the passage more than once to make sure what happened. In MacDonald, violence was usually quick (or off-stage), and he focused his details on events and revelations that occurred after the violent event, the results of the violence. I see something similar in Sallis' work.
  Crumley is no shrinking violet in the influence department. His work shows violence, it's still literary, but I see his influence more on the outright crime novel -- on guys like Ellroy and Bruen. Again, this is my off-the-cuff, gut-feeling-this-morning postulation, not a declaration. I may well be far off base. And I enjoy reading what the rest of you think about these things. Helps me to clarify my own thoughts.
- Duane

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