RARA-AVIS: Re:Which Prather?

From: Mark D. Nevins ( nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 20 Jun 2008

Hi Joy,

I've read many of the Prather SHELL SCOTT books over the last 20-30 years. They are a lot of fun, somewhat similar to the Brett Halliday MIKE SHAYNE series, though perhaps a bit more tongue-in-cheek.

I am a firm (perhaps overly firm) believer in reading series in order--e.g., I'm currently working my way through the Richard Stark PARKER series, as well as re-reading the Ian Fleming JAMES BOND series in publication order. In each case, there's a real value in reading them in order: The "Parker" series builds to some extent (I am only about halfway through, just finished RARE COIN SCORE)--and novels often reference earlier novels; and the Bond series very much builds book-by-book not on in terms of plot and reference, but also some (subtle but meaningful) evolution of the main character.

All that being said, I'm not sure there's any real need or advantage to reading the SHELL SCOTT series in order. Each is fun, some are better than others, but they all seem to me to be pretty much stand-alone. If anyone cares to argue otherwise, I'd be very interested to hear about it.

Note also that some of Prather's books, such as THE PEDDLER (recently reprinted by Hard Case) are non-series and don't star Shell Scott. (I have not yet read any of these, but assume they are a bit more noir/hardboiled.)

Please send reviews/impressions of the books you read!

Best, Mark Nevins

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