RARA-AVIS: Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dz@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 03 Feb 2008

With all the talk of women hardboiled/noir writers, I thought I'd mention this book, which while written by Collins is from the first person POV of a tough woman PI, Ms. Tree. According to the book's afterword section, there have been Ms. Tree comics, graphic novels, and 4 short stories since 1980, as well as several attempts to take the character to either TV or the movies, but this is the first book appearance by Ms. Tree. It's a fun book, pure hardboiled, smooth and professionally written, and unlike some other books I've read with a first person POV from a woman written by a guy, you're not thinking while you're reading this that a guy wrote it. The plot is part revenge, part uncovering some nasty business, and is probably one of the funnest (and lightest) of the new HardCase Crime Books (as opposed to the reprints). One thing that I found kind of amusing (and doesn't detract from the book) is Collins having his woman PI constantly describing everybodies wardrobe (as well as her own frequent wardrobe changes) to drive home the point that this is a woman's POV.

--Dave Z.

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