RARA-AVIS: Re: novelizations

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 28 Jul 2006

Mark asked:

> Kinda speaking of which, are there any worthwhile novelizations?
> Timothy Harris's Heatwave, which was based on a friend's unproduced
> screenplay, was very good. I keep meaning to read Alan Sharp's Night
> Moves -- which came first, his screenplay or hs novel? It started
> as an
> original screenplay, didn't it? The movie tie-in paperback appears to
> be the first printing of the novel.

Novelizations? While researching a column for MYSTERY SCENE. I compiled a list of P.I. -related novelizations and other tie-ins a few months back ( http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/ triv254.html ), and if pressed I'll confess to having read more than my share of these books. Generally, you're not missing much.

Some (most?) of them are obviously cranked (or wanked) out for a quick buck, and it shows, particularly the novelizations. But the original novels based on the shows aren't as awful -- in fact, despite Harriet Klausner's claim that "Nobody writes original novels based on TV shows better than Lee Goldberg does" I'd stick my neck out and say that Stuart Kaminsky's two original ROCKFORD FILES novels are very, very good indeed, adding emotional and psychological depths to Rockford that simply couldn't be conveyed as well on television. To me, these two books are the high-water mark of the TV tie-in, at least as far as private eye stuff goes (supposedly three or possibly even four of the 1,453,876 STAR TREK tie-ins aren't too shabby either).

Lee's first MONK book and Lawrence Block's MARKHAM novel, all originals (not "novelizations") are also well worth checking out., and Lee gets extra points for having the balls to narrate his novel
(haven't read the second yet) from Monk's nurse's point-of-view, thus
(successfully) adding depth to a character who's frequently so thin she's almost invisible.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.thrillingdetective.com

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