RARA-AVIS: Lawrence Block months

From: DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net
Date: 01 Nov 2007

November and December are Lawrence Block months here at Rara-Avis.  And I'm honored to introduce him, not that he needs an introduction here
(and not that I'm a particular authority on him, but I have been a long time fan).  So I thought I'd offer a brief summary of his career as a starting point for discussion.
  Lawrence Block is truly a Grand Master of crime fiction, as the Mystery Writers of America have named him.  He has also won numerous awards in the field.  One of the more prolific writers of the last half century, Block's work has now come full circle.  Several of his early paperback originals, written for publishers as varied as the sleazy Beacon to the more respected (though not necessarily respectable) Gold Medal, are now helping initiate a new paperback publishing line, Hard Case Crime.  But he is not just known for his reprints.  Block continues to publish new books, both in his several series and as standalones.
  That's how Block started in crime fiction, with a bunch of classic standalones written in the early '60s.  He wrote for Gold Medal under his own name, but Sheldon Lord was used at Beacon.  As Hard Case's recent reprint, Lucky at Cards (originally The Sex Shuffle), proved, in Block's sleaze novels, the "good parts" are not just the sex scenes.  Lord was but one of Block's numerous pseudonyms, which he used to write everything from sex exposes of stewardesses, hookers, johns, etc (as John Warren Wells), lesbian titillation (as Jill Emerson) to teen sex farce (as Chip Harrison).
  Block began to write series in the late '60s, starting with several books featuring international adventurer Evan Tanner.  In the mid
'70s, Block started two series, PI Matt Scudder was closely followed by burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr.  Both of them continue on, these twenty years later.  Recently, Block added another series about an easygoing hit man named Keller.

Alongside these series, he has continued to write standalones, some crime, some not.  There's Random Walk about, well, a random walk.  The title of Ronald Rabbit is a Dirty Old Man seems self-explanatory.  Ariel was found in the horror section.  Small Town returns him to crime.
  Now I haven't read everything he's written, far from it.  In fact, I have not yet read any of the books mentioned in the previous paragraph, nor any from the Tanner series.  But that's what this month is about, to re-familiarize ourselves with the Block we know and expose ourselves to some Block we don't.  We can all help each other figure out which are most worth reading and rereading.
  Well, that's my overall introduction to the works of Block.  Over the next few days, I will be putting up individual postings about different parts of his career, including:
  His early crime fiction standalones His pseudonymous works Evan Tanner series Matt Scudder series Burglar series Keller series Reprints of his early work

And the first will be an introduction to his works under the name Paul Kavanagh.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Nov 2007 EDT