Re: RARA-AVIS: Charles Williams

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 26 Jul 2006

I think Williams was in a lot of ways the ideal of that era of hardboiled writing, although his virtues don't just leap out at you. He's not a flashy stylist, so he's not as easy to sink your teeth into as say Goodis or Thompson or Woolrich (I believe I first read that insight from Mr. Gorman somewhere, and it's a keeper.) As far as I know he never wrote a series character, so there's not that hook. It's no wonder he's languished in comparison.

I am consistently impressed by Williams's quality treatment of relatively standard premises. There's a kind of omnipresent sadness in DEAD CALM, for instance, that lifts the story above what a plot summary would suggest. There's also a sense in a lot of his books of Fate as a cruel joker: you find that everywhere, yeah, but it's like Williams on some level just believed it more, or bought into it, more.


--- Jeff Vorzimmer <> wrote:

> > Page for page he was a better
> > writer than JDM, Peter Rabe and (many times) even
> Malcolm Braly, the
> > Blessed Trinity of Gold Medal.
> Again, I agree. JDM is a typist by comparison.

Doug Bassett

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