--- In email@example.com, "Brian Lindenmuth"
... that it
> was once determined that Goines books were the most popular in prisons
> by far and away. Someone once speculated that the average sentence
> length in a Goines book was something like 7 words and since most
> inmates had no more then a middle school education his books were the
> easiest for them to read. That they could relate to them was a bonus.
> There is no official study that I know of but it's interesting
Brian and all
I wasn't sure that this was true, so I asked my friend Dan Roberts
about it. He's a well-known vintage paperback collector, but he's
also an expert on Holloway House books and is working on a checklist
for them. It isn't an easy task since the books went through many
reprintings with mostly new numbering, but he's made quite a bit of
But I digress. Here below is what he has to say about Donald Goines.
"... pick up any Goines novel and you will see sentence structure like
any other hardboiled novel except for the street slang which
permeates, it seems, every page. While inmates may read more Goines
than any other author, I would venture to say it's not because a
barely educated person can read it, but rather because it comes the
closest to what the majority of inmates have actually lived---≠sort of
like I can relate to an archeological mystery novel.
"And furthermore, come to think of itóboth Hammett and certainly Paul
Cain use prose that is more "clipped" than Goines' prose. I suppose
that means most of Hammett's and Cain's readership ain't had much
school-larnin', neither (exhibit A). And to further clarify, Goines'
novels are not only filled throughout with street slang, they are full
of unrepentant violence. Try one some timeóthe first chapter of Crime
Partners, for example, is almost unbearably and graphically violent,
and eerily foreshadows what actually happens to Goines a few years later."
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