RARA-AVIS: Thank You Rara-Avis

From: raymond.tait@ntlworld.com
Date: 03 Jul 2009

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    I’ve been a member of Rara-Avis for getting on for a couple of years now and I would like to thank you all for the amazing knowledge and enthusiasm that comes out of this group. I wandered into it on the recommendation of a friend and was instantly hooked. Most of the time I just read the digests and the arrival of these is like the thud of a parcel of goodies landing on the doormat. Sometimes the discussion goes off at tangents and I lose interest, sometimes the arguments get a little out of hand, but most of the time it is passionate, entertaining and informative.

    Since joining the group I have read many authors I probably would never have tried. One of the first books I read was Framed in Guilt by Day Keene, a book I just happened to have but knew nothing about. And what a great read it was. Since then I have read many authors from the past that I was unfamiliar with before Rara-Avis enlightened me: Malcolm Braly, Gil Brewer, Peter Rabe, Vin Packer, Wade Miller, James McKimmey, David Dodge and Bruno Fischer for example. I have read some authors from the past that I had never got round to before, e.g. Lionel White, Paul Cain, Jonathan Latimer, Raoul Whitfield and William McGivern. I have gone back to many great authors with renewed enthusiasm, e.g. Charles Williams, Cornell Woolrich, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, John D MacDonald, Charles Willeford, Harry Whittington, Sjowall & Wahloo, Joe Gores, Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini, George Pelecanos, Michael Connelly, Donald Westlake, Richard Stark and Tucker Coe. And I have read some current authors that I either hadn’t heard of or hadn’t got round to such as Allan Guthrie, Ken Bruen, Cormac McCarthy, Vicki Hendricks, Charlie Williams, Charlie Huston, Megan Abbott, Terrill Lee Lankford and Dave Zeltserman. And all the above reading is in less than two years. And of course many of the last list and the one before it pop up here Rara-Avis serving up wit and wisdom on a daily basis. How great is that?

    The other great thing is all the links to other sites where you can read pieces by Allan Guthrie, Bill Crider, Bill Pronzini, Ed Gorman and others with interviews and bibliographies and cover art and all sorts of wonderful material. I can remember when I was reading in the 1980s it was often really hard to find good stuff to read unless you lived in London or somewhere with specialist book shops or good secondhand sellers. Back then discovering Elmore Leonard or Chester Himes or the Black Lizard reprints or the Ballantine Cornell Woolrich reprints was like finding treasure which was great but there were also periods when I remember reading all sorts of disappointing stuff in the search for the real thing. Now there is all this information out there and the books with a few exceptions are reasonably easy to get hold of through Amazon, ebay or Abe. And now I know that when I find a copy of Elliot Chaze’s Black Wings Hath My Angel on my local market stall I have struck gold (well this has never actually happened but you never know…) I have picked up a good sized stash of mostly out of print books by the likes of Day Keene and many others in the last year or two without spending huge amounts of money on individual items.

    And a special mention to Terrill Lee Lankford for Earthquake Weather – what a great book that is.

    So thank you to one and all for doing what you do. And long may you run.


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