RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled Reading List 1988

From: John Williams (johnwilliams@ntlworld.com)
Date: 30 Sep 2008

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    Wasting time this afternoon I came across a top ten crime novels of 1988 list (pasted below) that I must have written for some newspaper (or possibly even the NME) and couldn't help wondering if maybe things aren't quite as exciting now as then. Anyone care to come up with a top ten of this year so far to counter this depressing theory?

    _Top Ten Crime 1988


    1.Black Dahlia (Mysterious Press 10.95) - James Ellroy with the best book by the year's best author. Tougher, bloodier and more ambitious than the rest. Ellroy writes like he /needs/ to write


    2.Freaky Deaky (Viking 10.95) - Elmore Leonard back on form, a smart, fast and funny story of 60s radicals


    3.Outlaws (Abacus 3.99) - George.V.Higgins maintains form, a smart medium-pace and funny story of 60s radicals


    4.Cutter And Bone (Blue Murder 3.50) - Newton Thornburg. The best of the year's re-issues, a classic of post-

    'Nam America written by the terminally underrated Thornburg


    5.Sleeping Dog (Coronet Crime 2.99) - Dick Lochte has written a great one-off. The year's funniest book concerns the unlikely pairing of a broke-down P.I. and a 14 year old Valley Girl.


    6.Under Cover Of Daylight (Heinemann 11.95) - James Hall's novel resembles a Thomas McGuane style piece of American pastoralism hi-jacked by Charles Willeford.


    7.How The Dead Live (Abacus 3.99) - Derek Raymond's book is totally crazed the nearest thing to an English Jim Thompson.


    8.Neon Rain (Pocker Books 3.50) - James Lee Burke mines Crumley territory in this novel about an alcoholic New Orleans cop


    9.Strega (Pan 2.99) - Andrew Vachss vision of New York as urban nightmare verges on the paranoid, but Strega is at least original


    10.Until The Sacred Ginmill Closes (Mysterious Press 2.50) - Laurence Block writes too many books to be consistent. This is a good novel about a P.I. on the edge of disintegration in the mid-70s.


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