RARA-AVIS: Archer/Ross Macdonald

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dz@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 21 Aug 2007

When I was in high school I read all of the Ross Macdonald Lew Archer books and liked them a lot. There was all that dread and dark secrets hidden in middleclass surburban families, and it wasn't so much fear of going to prison that motivated these people to keep these secrets covered up as fear of being exposed to their families and neighbors for what they really are. You could take almost any of these Lew Archer books and flip the POV to the guilty and write some pretty good noir novels.

Some years back I was reading a Ross Macdonald short story and was surprised by what I considered stilted writing, and that had me pick up my favorite Macdonald book, The Chill, and I had about the same reaction MikeR did about the quality--which again really surprised me. I'm going to pick up one of my Lew Archer books again tonight and see if I still feel that way.

As far as MikeR's generous offer to provide a more detailed report into Macdonald's writing, I personally welcome that. That's the type of thing that makes this group unique and worth being a member of-- instead of people just expressing their likes and dislikes, there's a willingness for more critical examination. Plus, as a writer, that type of insight from MikeR would be invaluable.

--Dave Zeltserman

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