RARA-AVIS: Re: Block-McBain

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 05 Jan 2010

  • Next message: James Michael Rogers: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Block-McBain"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "phred deVecca" <frogprod@...> wrote:
    > wow -talk about "different strokes"!
    > I've never been able to finish an 87th Precinct book and I've tried several- and I think Block is one of the 2 or 3 best PI novelists of the modern age... 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE and WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL CLOSES are 2 of the best of the century (though the more recent titles are weaker - still worthwhile though) and Scudder is one of the most believable, effective and approachable alcoholc characters anywhere in literature

    Block is a very good writer. However, he sometimes conveys a sense of the gimmick, that he is trying to con the reader, or wink at the reader. That is not the highest level of artistry, in my opinion.

    I think Evan Hunter reached that level more often than Block, but it is a highly subjective and dubious enterprise -- one can't be quantitative when it comes to two such prolific writers. What do we pit against what? The best of one against the best of the other? Or their averages? No, we shouldn't be comparing.

    I do reiterate the recommendation of Evan Hunter's various collections of short stories. Most are not mystery stories, or are only incidentally so.

    By the way, Westlake, in his introduction to the Levine novella collection, speaks very highly of Hunter and says that when he came in contact with Hunter's work, he underwent a serious change in his approach. They were friends.



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