RARA-AVIS: Themes of Revenge in Joe Gores's Work

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 09 Jan 2008

Arguably, Gores, like most mystery writers who produce a long-running and popular series, is best-known for his series work. But Gores has also written a lot of non-series work. And one theme that recurs in his stand-alones is the hero wreaking vengeance.

Gores's 1969 debut novel, A TIME OF PREDATORS, was not an entry in his DKA series, though the series had already been established in short stories appearing in EQMM, but such a stand-alone.

Years before Brian Garfield's DEATH WISH, it tells the story of a man driven to violence when three thugs attack and gang-rape his wife, driving her to suicide.
 Curt Halstead isn't a manhunter. He's a college professor (his university is unnamed, but it's obviously Stanford). But, once upon a time, he was highly trained combat soldier, and he decides to revive those skills and go after the punks he regards as his wife's murderers.

In addition to anticipating the better-known DEATH WISH, Gores first book hit the scene at roughly the same time Don Pendleton's WAR AGAINST THE MAFIA, the first "Executioner" book, which also was built around the notion of a soldier using military tactics to fight criminals.

Decades later, Gores revisited the theme of a man avenging the death of his family with DEAD MAN. This time, rather than being a college professor, the hero, Eddie Dain, isn't a college professor. Ostensibly he's a professional detective. But his specialty is computer investigations, not mixing it up toe-to-toe with bad guys on the street. When he starts investigating the wrong people, he becomes a target, when his wife and child are killed in an attempt on his life, he goes into hiding, and, like Halsted, trains himself to become a killing machine.


      ____________________________________________________________________________________ Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now. http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Jan 2008 EST