RARA-AVIS: My take on Block

From: Tapani Bagge ( tapani.bagge@armas.fi)
Date: 27 Nov 2007

> Hi all,

Since I was one of those who sent our votes for the Block month and I just got my next year's novel out of my hands (for a while, at least), I thought I'd give you my take on the Man.

I've translated five of his Scudder books into Finnish and recommended a few others for the publisher. The first I translated was A Dance in the Slaughterhouse and I liked it a lot, but I think the best of the Scudders are the first ones, where he's fighting against the alcoholism, and the pinnacle was reached in Eight Million Ways to Die and When the Sacred Ginmill Closes. I don't think the Hal Ashby film of Eight Million was all that bad. There were moments, at least in the first half. And the actors were great.

I'm not that big fan of the Burglar series. The best of them are quite fun, and of course Block knows how to write and blows life even to the minor characters, but the whole premise wears soon a bit thin. I've only read one from the Thief series, and it was all right, but not that great. I have to confess that I liked the Chip Harrison books better, especially the last two, which are hilarious parody of Rex Stout.

The early noir novels of Block are great, apart from Deadly Honeymoon. That one didn't just work for me. His short stories are masterpieces. His writing books I recommend to everybody who's interested in the subject. I also think the Keller stories and books are very enjoyable. Good characters.

Random Walk has gathered dust on my self for a long time, as well as Small Town. Maybe I should try one of them now. I'll tell you then.

Tapani Bagge

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