RARA-AVIS: Missing Authors: Jonathan Valin

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 05 Apr 2008

Mario wrote:

> I put up a Jonathan Valin cover (of "Missing"...) to symbolize the
> topic of the month. What do folks think of Valin?

An awesome talent, right up there as far as missing authors go.

Last I heard, he was writing for stereo magazines (one of the last Stoner novels, THE MUSIC LOVERS, revolved around music collectors, in fact). His wife Katherine, meanwhile, is a respected artist and journalist who writes about the arts for newspapers and magazines.

In my entry for Stoner I wrote:

> "But it is the sense of horror that marks the Stoner books as
> something more than just reheated, pumped up Macdonald. The books
> are powerful stuff, indeed, full of nasty, shocking images that can
> stay with you a long time. Evil is a recurring character in this
> series, and the consequences of violence aren't blithely passed
> over. In the later books, Stoner begins to question his attrraction
> to, and repulsion of violence. He's also trying to come to grips
> with his lost idealism, and like his contemporary, Stephen
> Greenleaf's John Marshall Tanner, he's starting to wonder whatever
> happened to the sixties. All in all, an excellent series, worth
> checking out, particularly 1986's Life's Work, a foray into the
> world of professional football that reads like a bruising collision
> between The Blue Hammer and North Dallas Forty."

Oh, and his last book in the Stoner series was, appropriately, MISSING.

Arthur Lyons and Greenleaf are frequently cited in the "whatever happened to" category, 1980s P.I. division) but the one I wonder about is Gaylord Dold.

And then there's Joseph Hansen, who's no longer missing; just dead, but who for a while shared a paperback publisher with Lyons. I don't think enough people are aware of just how good Hansen's books featuring gay insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter really were; Hammett-terse, but Macdonald-nasty. Like the late Dennis Lynds, who was our guest here a while back, he was one of those guys who quietly but substantially changed the genre, by exploring and exploiting possibilities people like Hammett and Chandler had only (perhaps unintentionally) hinted at.

What obscure hard-boiled writers have you guys been wondering about?

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 05 Apr 2008 EDT