RARA-AVIS: Re: What about John D. MacDonald?

From: hardcasecrime ( editor@hardcasecrime.com)
Date: 14 Jun 2006

Hi, Jeff --

I don't know about the "early" part (LEMONS NEVER LIE was maybe the dozenth book Donald Westlake wrote under the Stark pseudonym, and was the fourth he'd written about series character Alan Grofield; THE PEDDLER came after Richard Prather had written several books about Shell Scott), but it's true that we tend to prefer non-series books to series books.

The only series titles we've published to date have been Erle Stanley Gardner's Cool-and-Lam novel TOP OF THE HEAP; Max Allan Collins' Nolan novel(s) TWO FOR THE MONEY; and David Dodge's Al Colby novel PLUNDER OF THE SUN. (Ed McBain's THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE is about a character, Matt Cordell, who appeared in a series of short stories in Manhunt, but that's not quite the same thing.) Later this year, we have a Quarry novel coming from Max Allan Collins (THE LAST QUARRY) and next year we should have sequels to BUST from Ken Bruen and Jason Starr and LITTLE GIRL LOST by Richard Aleas (if that Aleas character can just stop surfing Internet message boards and get back to the damn word processor!). But overwhelmingly we prefer standalones to series.

As for John D., I have to admit to holding the somewhat heretical view that he wasn't, as the kids would say these days, all that. I keep reading his books hoping to catch a whiff of whatever it is that makes other readers I respect go gaga, but it hasn't happened yet. He was a smooth, solid, professional writer, heaven knows, but for whatever idiosyncratic personal reason, I haven't yet found a book of his that I really loved. Many have bored me and I've had to force myself to finish; some have held my interest but not wowed me. So while I'd love to add a McDonald title to our line for iconic reasons if nothing else, it's going to have to wait till I come across one that happens to push my buttons just right.

Apologies to all the passionate McDonald fans I've just horrified. I know you guys would probably express confusion over some of the writers I find irresistible. It all boils down to personal preference in the end. And who knows? I spent nearly 40 years not liking broccoli, and now I can't get enough; maybe in time I'll acquire a taste for McDonald, too...


--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Vorzimmer" <jvorzimmer@...> wrote:
> Looking over Hard Case Crime's list of new and forthcoming novels,
I see a
> pattern. A lot of early books by writers later known for series. An
> pre-Helm Hamilton, a non-Parker Stark, a pre-Shell Scott Prather.
> What about an early John D. MacDonald, pre-Travis McGee? There's
> dozens to choose from. He's a good writer, but I could never get
into the
> Travis McGee books. Too contrived for my tastes.
> Jeff

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