Re: RARA-AVIS: Was Walter Mosley and bad-ass sidekicks now Bubba

From: Patrick King (
Date: 03 Sep 2008

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    --- On Wed, 9/3/08, Brian Lindenmuth <> wrote:

    Does there need to be a reconsideration of Patrick Kenzie? Given the

    violence and death that he doles out he could probably be someone's

    bad ass side kick. Or let's look at this another way -- Patrick,

    Angie, Bubba, Cheese, Kevin Hurilhey, Nelson, Phil, Danny & Iggy

    Twoomey ALL came from the same neighborhood and came up around the

    same time. This is as violent a group of characters that you are

    likely to find ANYWHERE in fiction.

    All I'm saying is that there was definitely something in the water.


    In South Boston it's more like to be in the blood than in the water. But that said, Patrick & Angie are physically insecure in that first book. Remember Angie is being battered at home and Patrick is confused about what to do about that. He doesn't feel up to confronting her husband by himself. Mike Hammer would never have Kenzie's scruples, or Philip Marlow, or Sam Spade. I suppose we could say that's what sets Kenzie apart but it made me roll my eyes reading the first book. When they go down to Washington Street to meet the gangster in a public place and have Bubba on the roof of the store with a high powered rifle. The implication is that Bubba doesn't expect to get paid with money for that type of service. But it's two types of dangerous job. If he has to assassinate the mob guy how will he get away? And if he got caught going up on the roof with that rifle he'll be in Walpole before the sun sets and they won't have any protection. What motivates
     this guy? Loyalty to a couple of people who are contemptuous of him?

    Both Patrick and Angie are doubled barreled by the time of the shoot out in South Station, though. That's when Bubba goes down and they have no one to rely on but each other. And they just leave Bubba to the wolves, too. That whole plot line bothers me a lot. In that book, Bubba is a one dimensional disposable character and yet his behavior denotes some kind of complicated sense of loyalty but we never really hear why. I lived in or near Boston for many years and Boston is a pretty uptight city. If just one of the things that happened in that book happened in real life, the mayor would declare martial law in a heart beat. I have to say I found myself laughing aloud at some of the antics. Then in amazement I learned that Lehane won Best New Writer Edgar Award on the strength of that book. It sure wasn't the best first novel I've ever read. Maybe the pickings were slim that year.

    Patrick King


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