Re: RARA-AVIS: Interface by Joe Gores

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 23 Jan 2008

I've just finished "A Time of Predators", the only Gores book I've read. (I've started "Contract Null and Void", a DKA book.)

The edition I read is a 2005 "Otto Penzler Presents" reprint, with a brief introduction by Penzler. The intro concludes by saying that there are a number of good reasons to read the book: "Here is an excellent reflection of a time just before the world changed forever, and here is an absorbing suspense novel, and here is the book that launched the career of one of the finest crime writers alive."

I certainly found it an absorbing suspense novel. It's a revenge story, whose more or less sympathetic protagonist is a middle aged professor who goes after a gang of teenage hoods. I don't think he's particularly likeable, but he's the guy with whom the reader identifies. The issue of good guys vs bad guys and whether this is an adequate way of thinking about the world is actually explicitly addressed in the book. The protagonist thinks of the teenagers as
"predators" he needs to track down, but then when he begins to execute his revenge the reality of the situation gives him pause. There is a cop in the story who says there are two kinds of people in the world;
"the worms and the human beings." The protagonist respects the cop and thinks maybe cops have to think in that binary way, but in the end he rejects it for himself.

The first clause of that sentence I quoted is a fancy way of saying that the book is dated in some ways. The intro notes that the language is relatively tame and that the sexual behaviour of the characters reflects a pre-"sexual revolution" mind set. Sexual attitudes and behaviour are actually key to the plot, so this is significant. It occurred to me that the book was also very much of its time in another way: as a sort of precursor to 1970s revenge fantasy stories, in which a decent man has to go out and execute violent justice himself because the police and courts can't or won't.
(I think of this as a 1970s sort of subgenre, "Dirty Harry" and so on, but maybe such stories were also common earlier, for all I know.)

Anyway, I think the book is pretty strong even if it is somewhat dated.

Stephen Burridge

On Jan 23, 2008 12:37 PM, <> wrote:
> I'm about half way through WOLF TIME and I have found it quite
> different from all of his DKA books, especially the more recent three.
> In WOLF TIME Hollis Fletcher, the main protagonist, is not completely
> unlikeable, but neither is he the easiest character to care about. The
> other characters vary in their respective degrees of cynicical
> self-motivation, but there is not a single one that is readily likeable.
> Although I haven't read Gores's other stand alone books, I suspect that
> they may be more or less in the same vain (e.g. A TIME FOR PREDATORS,
> Best,
> Harry

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