Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Pelecanos - My Five Most Important Crime Novels

From: Stewart Wilson (
Date: 05 Oct 2008

  • Next message: Brian Thornton: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Pelecanos - My Five Most Important Crime Novels"

    On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 9:59 AM, davezeltserman <> wrote:
    > Hard to take any list without Maltese Falcon leading it too seriously.

    I don't agree. Sure, if it was about absolutes, MALTESE FALCON should have ranked, but I think Pelecanos was putting the emphasis on the
    "My" in "My Five Most Important Crime Novels", and frankly there is nothing MALTESE FALCON-esque about Pelecanos' novels. We all know what the five best crime novels are (!), and it just wouldn't be that interesting if everyone asked simply itemized the list. Pelecanos was putting up a list of five great novels that influenced him. Of the titles on the list, I think the Price one is of special interest because Pelecanos worked with Price on THE WIRE. Though I have only read a couple of Price books (as opposed to all of Pelecanos), I believe that Price has been a huge influence on Pelecanos, and the fifth entry in the list is an honest appreciation of a truly great and under-appreciated writer.


    > --- In, "Michael S. Chong"
    > <menglish47@...> wrote:
    >> From Newsweek dated Sep 29, 2008
    >> My Five Most Important Crime Novels
    >> 1.
    >> "
    >> The Long Goodbye
    >> " by Raymond Chandler. A melancholic ode to loss and the
    > passage of time.
    >> 2.
    >> "
    >> The Burglar
    >> " by David Goodis. Hypnotic prose and a shocking ending.
    > Call it pulp if you have the need to. It's disturbing art.
    >> 3.
    >> "The Last Good Kiss" by James Crumley. The post-Vietnam
    > stunner that reinvigorated the genre and jacked up a generation of
    > future crime novelists.
    >> 4. "Swag" by Elmore Leonard. Down-and-dirty, this one
    > smokes front to back, and the voice is one of a kind.
    >> 5. "Clockers" by Richard Price. My generation's "Grapes
    > of Wrath."
    > Godfather" by Mario Puzo. Except for the page that features Sonny and
    > the bridesmaid. That page never disappoints.
    > Charles Portis. A great adult novel with a strong, teenage female
    > protagonist.
    >> ***Interesting choices... I'm surprised Pelecanos did not include
    > Newton Thornburg's "Cutter and Bone" for which he wrote an
    > introduction for a reissue.
    >> Michael

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