RARA-AVIS: What are you reading - and Introduction

From: Raymond Tait ( raymond.tait@cai.cam.ac.uk)
Date: 26 Sep 2007

I joined this group about seven months ago and have been lurking silently and enjoying the digests since then.

A couple of weeks ago I followed up some discussion and read Rivertown Risk by Joe L Hensley and then Framed in Guilt by Day Keene followed by Shake Him Till He Rattles by Malcolm Braly. The first was prompted by the notice of his death that came via Harlan Ellison. I enjoyed it - it is a murder mystery with a small town political corruption as its thematic backdrop. One of the minor characters is George Jones who is known as "Half a Man" because he was born with only one leg and arm. He is a reader of books and it is noted that "he's a completist on Harlan Ellison." All through the book there is endless stuff about "the party" which I assumed to be the republican party although it is never named. There is no mention of another party giving it a flavour of the one party state - you could have been reading about the communist block. Was I reading this right and are there parts of the USA where it is virtually a one party state? I also wasn't sure where the book was set
- where was Joe L Hensley from? I enjoyed the Day Keene book which was one that Al in his list deemed "Very Good" and a couple of other people on the list had read in the last month or two. Nice brisk story. Finally I also enjoyed the Braly and although the beat language and characters are all rather dated that was part of the pleasure if that doesn't sound too perverse.

I was also prompted to go and drag my box of noir fiction paperbacks out of the loft and have three Peter Rabe books sitting by my bedside - Benny Muscles in, Journey Into Terror and Stop This Man. I haven't decided which to read yet.

Since then I have read the new Ian Rankin - as good as ever - and have just begun Miami Purity by Vicki Hendricks who I have been meaning to read for ages.

As to me I am simply a fan. In my teens I read all of Chandler and Hammett and a number of books by Ross MacDonald and Simenon. In my twenties I devoured all the Elmore Leonards had a lot of fun with Chester Himes. Then after watching Phantom Lady I at long last discovered that as well as Film Noir there was noir fiction. Since then I have read Woolrich, Goodis, Willeford, Thompson and many others with Jason Starr being a relatively recent discovery. I have also read any number of books by Lawrence Block, Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini, James Lee Burke among others.

One other question - I have found a few things on the net about noir fiction by George Tuttle but have been unable to find out who he is. Can someone please help?

And finally, thank you for these digests - they are always full of interesting facts and discussion.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 26 Sep 2007 EDT