Re: RARA-AVIS: form/formula

Date: 28 Jan 2008


Clearly, you and I part on a lot of issues, but I don't really disagree with your categorizations here. Yes, Rebus is genre, one of the best if you're into that kind of thing. You're not, I am, different strokes.

And I agree with your observation that, by definition, series increasingly rely on formula. I once pointed out this difference between Bruen/Starr's Bust, where I was very surprised by who lived and died, and their sequel, Slide, where certain characters seemed to have protected status. Although I enjoy Bruen's various series, I totally see why you do not. Even if his series' heroes, Brant and Taylor, at first seemed unorthodox choices as series stars, just their being put in that position ultimately rendered them orthodox (and the things that once seemed unorthodox are reduced to quaint little character traits).

That's why I said "some Bruen" is trying new things. These would be some, but not all, of his standalones.

Jack O'Connell came up with an interesting way of keeping a series more open. Only the city, Quinsigamond, carries over between books (although often different parts of that city), not the characters. Yes, Dennis Lynds did this as John Crowe in his Buena Costa County Mysteries, but those were solidly genre pieces, even if, as with most of his work, they were filtered through Lynd's leftist politics. O'Connell's books get progressively original.

Anyway, sometimes I want to read something new, interesting, challenging, etc, hence my request for recommendations of this sort. But other times I just want a genre piece, as a sort of comfort food. I get that "comfortable" is probably a literary insult in your mind. As I said, different strokes.


ps Although I also cannot stand Vachss's Burke books, they weren't written to impres his wife. He worked with endangered kids long before they came together; in fact, as I understand it, they met through their work, her as prosecutor, him as a child advocate,

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