Re: RARA-AVIS: Catching up on some Hard Case Crime books

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 26 Feb 2006

I recently read the Hard Case reissue of NIGHT WALKER, by Donald Hamilton. A little stunner of a book, it manages to play new notes on the old "two men exchange places" set up. It's hard to talk about the book without giving away its surprises, but I was very impressed with the directions Hamilton took the plot, as well as the characterizations. (One of the nominally "bad" characters is a lot more sympathetic than one of the nominally "good" ones, for instance.) Hamilton was a tremendously sophisticated writer in a lot of ways; there's a lot going on under the surface here. Suffers a bit from a formulaic ending, but still, check it out.

I've also liked Willeford's WILD WIVES (PI on the road to ruin goes to hell quickly; pretty formulaic but Willeford's bland sociopaths remain fascinating) and Lawrence Sanders's THE FIRST DEADLY SIN (not really hb, more a standard police procedural entry swelled up to bestseller size. Intermittantly successful, but when it's on it's terrific: I wonder if Thomas Harris knew this book before writing RED DRAGON.)


--- Paul Farrell <> wrote:

> The Hard Case Crime books aren't easily available in
> stores here in New
> Zealand, aside from Lawrence Block's GRIFTER'S GAME
> and the Stephen
> King book, both of which are stocked at Borders,
> where they're
> obviously only going for the most famous authors in
> the series.
> Just recently, though, two of the other books have
> shown up at an indie
> bookstore, so I picked them up:
> Peter Pavia - DUTCH UNCLE. A decent Florida-set
> story with obvious
> influence from Elmore Leonard. A guy who's been out
> of prison for only
> a few days gets a job as a drug courier, and comes
> across a dead body
> his first night on the job. He has to go on the run
> to avoid the cops
> and fellow criminals. I could see a series coming
> out of this one,
> focused on the cop characters.
> Max Phillips - FADE TO BLONDE. If the publication
> date didn't say
> 2004, I'd swear this was from the late 50s/early
> 60s. The rescue
> operation at the whorehouse is a particular
> highlight, and even though
> I guessed the general direction the ending was
> heading for, there was
> still a surprise left. On the strength of this
> book, I've got
> Phillips' previous novel, THE ARTIST'S WIFE, from
> the library.
> Paul
> Send instant messages to your online friends

Doug Bassett

__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

RARA-AVIS home page:
  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 : 26 Feb 2006 EST