RARA-AVIS: Re: The Last of My Charles Williams Summers

From: al_guthrie65 ( allan@allanguthrie.co.uk)
Date: 05 Sep 2007

Congrats on the reading fest, Jeff. I'd suggest Malcolm Braly as a writer who was as talented and consistent as Williams (although how much is talent, and how much is hard work and good editing, I wouldn't know). Braly's not as prolific as Williams, having died young, but he could write with the best of them. ON THE YARD is his masterpiece, the mother of all prison novels. It's currently in print in the NYRB Classics series with an intro by Jonatham Lethem.

I'm a big Day Keene fan, too, though he was perhaps a better storyteller than he was a writer, and some of his books (of which there are many) are disappointing, though never anywhere near as bad as bad Brewer. But he wrote at least half a dozen I'd consider among the very best of the PBOs.


--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Vorzimmer"
<jvorzimmer@...> wrote:
> Well, I just finished the last three books of Charles Williams--
The Wrong
> Venus, And the Deep Blue Sea and Man on a Leash. I finally made it
> all 22 of his books and I must say it was a pleasure. Not a bad
book in the
> lot. With that said I must his last three novels have more in
common with
> each other than the rest of his books.
> All three books have to do with international espionage, they have
> intricate plots and they are not as well written and edited as his
> 19 books, but nonetheless they are good reads. Man on Leash was
> interesting in that it was way ahead of its time with its
inclusion of
> sophisticated electronics and explosives. Williams anticipates
movies such
> as the Die Hard series, Firewall, etc. by 30 years. All three
books are
> pretty far out and really push the limits of plausibility, but,
> Williams wrote so well and was so knowledgeable about what he
wrote, you go
> along with it. But I also had the feeling while reading these
books that he
> was probably drunk when he wrote some of the passages in these
> All Williams' books are well worth reading with maybe the
exception of The
> Wrong Venus, which I had trouble following at times. Although it's
a crime
> novel, it is a comedy, but the humor is not as interesting or as
funny as
> his Sagamore books (which I think are worthy of Mark Twain). It's
not bad,
> but not up to the caliber of his other books.
> I hope I can find another Gold Medal author who was as talented
and as
> consistent as Williams. I think Harry Whittington comes close and
some of
> Gil Brewer's best are every bit as good as the best of Williams
and have a
> similar feel. Any suggestions?
> Jeff

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