Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Who don't you like?

Date: 01 Jul 2006

Brian wrote:

"Ellroy is my pick for most over-rated fiction writer of the past decade."

So you only have a problem with Cold Six Thousand? The rest of his novels are over a decade old. I'm kidding, of course, since much of his mainstream acclaim has come in that time frame. In fact, it started at almost exactly the same point I started being fed up with him. American Tabloid embodied and exaggerated everything that had come to bother me about him, particularly the overwriting, the sloppiness with period -- if you're going to write historicals, do your research, check for anachronisms -- and the homophobia and racism that increasingly seemed to be the author's not the characters'. "But that's what it was like then" does not fly for me when every character seems to hold the exact same bigotries -- it's either bad characterization or more sloppy history.

I really liked his early books when I read them -- his depiction of the varying degrees of corruption, with no one completely clean, added shades of grey to an increasingly black or white hardboiled world; unfortunately, like everything else in his writing, it eventually became mere schtick -- but I haven't reread any of them, and doubt I will.

Brian, you've expressed your dislike of Pelecanos numerous times before, which is fine (I've expressed my opinion of Ellroy a number of times), but I have one question -- you have mentioned quite a few of his titles in making your case, but why do you keep reading him if he bothers you so much? I have no interest at all in reading Ellroy's Cold Six Thousand to see if it confirms my antipathy for American Tabloid.

Collins has written some books I like -- Nolan, Quarry -- but they do seem slight to me, with character types instead of real characters. For instance, the Nolan books can be fun, but they're mere comic books compared to the Parker novels that inspired them. Maybe that's why my favorite Collins is a comic book, Ms Tree. I only read one Nate Heller, True Detective. Never read another. In fact, don't think I have read any of his new ones since, though I will pick up Hard Case's Last Quarry.

Spillane never did much for me, either. I went back to him a couple of times, but never could get into him.

I didn't think a whole lot of Estleman's early Amos Walkers, but I had picked up a few at once, and each was just good enough to get me to read the next at a time few PI novels were coming out. The series hit its stride about three in. That peak held for a few, but I eventually became a bit bored with Walker and stopped reading them.

Which reminds me, I could never get into Grafton at all.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Jul 2006 EDT