RARA-AVIS: Re: John D.

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 17 Oct 2009

  • Next message: Harry Joseph Lerner: "RE: RARA-AVIS: John D."

    Tom wrote:

    > I just finished a John D McDonald standalone, "One Monday We Killed
    > Them All". what a title, eh?
    > I had a mixed reaction to this book, mostly on account of the
    > narrative voice. it's written in first person, but about a third of
    > the time I was unconvinced that what I was reading was how that
    > character would actually say or describe something. especially, like
    > in the McGee books, when characters would go on lengthy implausible
    > monologues about a topic, in McDonald's "pointed sociological
    > asides" way, here mostly about the state of American justice. too
    > much of John D putting his words into his characters' mouths. that
    > stuff really bugs me, pulls me out of the story, just makes me roll
    > my eyes. it's a mistake that John D's peers, like Charles Williams
    > and Gil Brewer and Jim Thompson, were much less likely to make when
    > writing in first person.

    I don't want to turn this into a big political debate, but I was wondering if you tended to agree with McGee's rants or not. Because I've found that often a reader's tolerance for digressions (or off- topic rants or socio-political pontificating or whatever you call it) depended on whether they agreed with the digressions or not.

    Some people thought Mike Hammer should just shut up; others feel Warshawski should put a sock in it. Me, I just put down their rants as being part of who they are.

    Yet MacDonald, Paretsky and Spillane -- unlike Charles Williams and Gil Brewer and Jim Thompson -- are or were mainstream bestsellers, so those same rants must have been more readily acceptable to a lot of people.

    Some people don't like characters to have opinions; other people just don't like characters to have opinions they don't share.

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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