RE: RARA-AVIS: Lionel White

From: Ron Clinton (
Date: 04 Sep 2009

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    Being the HCC fan I am, I appreciate and trust your editorial insight, Charles, but on this one I must say I'm rather puzzled at your take on Lionel White. Yes, his later material, like NIGHT OF THE RAPE and THE MEXICO RUN, are likely (and rightly) candidates for your disdain. But his the novels he released in his prime -- STEAL BIG, THE BIG CAPER, TOO YOUNG TO DIE, OBSESSION, LOVE TRAP and a half-dozen others that come immediately to mind would not seem, from my recollection of those titles, to fit your description. Yes, White often used violence against women as an element of his work, but that was typical among many of the older pbo writers; it certainly doesn't make him unique or "creepy." I won't try to sway your opinion on him, but I would urge you to give him another try one of these days (perhaps one of the titles I list above) may be surprised.

    Ron C.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: [] On
    > Behalf Of hardcasecrime
    > Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 4:13 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: Lionel White
    > > By the way, does anybody have any suggestions
    > > on Lionel White books? I read Clean Break
    > > (otherwise known as The Killing) and dug that.
    > Sadly, nothing else White wrote ever came close to the high standard he
    > set in CLEAN BREAK. Not even remotely. A few of his caper novels have
    > decent plots, but they also suffer from the author's slightly creepy
    > attachment to writing rape (or near-rape) scenes that are clearly meant
    > to be arousing for the reader, or at least seem to have been so for the
    > writer, and his tendency to paint black and Mexican characters with the
    > crudest of brushstrokes. (Best of all, of course, are the cases where
    > he combines these two.) I'm the last person on earth to be, or ask
    > others to be, PC, but I find myself wincing in embarrassment when I read
    > much of White's stuff. It's one of the reasons there hasn't been a
    > White novel in our line.
    > But THE KILLING is outstanding. No question about that.
    > --Charles
    > ------------------------------------
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