RARA-AVIS: Re: Joseph Hansen

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 30 Nov 2004

Jim wrote:

>I just heard that Joseph Hansen passed away.
>Very few people since Hammett and Chandler and have
>brought something truly new to the hard-boiled PI
>story, but Hansen is certainly one of those few.
>His novels and stories about gay insurance detective
>Dave Brandstetter were praised for being
>ground-breaking, but, aside from that, they were just
>damned good PI stories. Well-written,
>well-characterized, well-plotted.
>He'll be missed.

That IS sad. The Brandstetter books were always favourites of mine, although I admit it originally took a bit to get over prejudices I didn't even know I had (Hey, I was a stupid young man when I first read them).

One thing I really liked about them was their terseness, and the staccato jumps forward between chapters -- he assumed readers would be smart enough to make the plot leaps along with him, and as a result the books often moved very quickly. if only today's writers trusted thewir readers that much, we wouldn't have so many bloated 400-page turkeys.

A few years ago, on this list, I pondered aloud about a rumour I'd heard that he wasn't gay. He wrote me to assure me that that was not the case, and then thanked me for the kind words on my site. The letter is reprinted on my site, for those of you who are interested.


Kevin Burton Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site Holiday Issue New stories and the 2004 Thrillies. http://www.thrillingdetective.com

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