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Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




A few months ago I picked up a copy of Dashiell Hammet's Red Harvest after having finished watching HBO's True Detective, and for the last couple months have thrown myself into the world of Hardboiled Detective fiction, specifically Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. There wasn't a thread on here so I thought I'd take a shot at an OP and see if there was any interest!

While I was aware of the stereotypes of the genre (namely trench coats, hats, dames, cynics, and hard drinking), I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Hardboiled was more than just the dime-store trashy novel that I was always told it was. Hammett and Chandler create characters that are far from Sherlock Holmes, but through their tenacity and capability of violence often come out on top.

While both authors create richly detailed settings, bringing cities (which are characters unto themselves in Hardboiled) to life on paper (Hammett does an excellent job evoking the hills and winding streets of San Fran in The Maltese Falcon), switching from Hammett to Chandler was a huge change due to the "thick" manner of Chandler's descriptions. A character walks into a room, and for the next 1-2 pages every detail of that room is given a description, from the drapes (especially the drapes!), to the carpet, walls, windows, furniture, etc.

The most famous detectives of the pair are:

Hammett:



The Continental OP: A nameless, middle-aged, overweight, featureless man who you wouldn't remember having a shared words with an hour later. The Con OP is an agent for a Pinkerton-like Private Detective agency that operates in the US. More intelligent than most of the other detectives mentioned below, orchestrating complex plans to achieve his goals, he is relentless and often sleeps for only a few hours a night.

Despite his physique he is a capable fighter, though certainly feels it later. The Con OP is very morally ambiguous, for example creating situations that result in criminals killing each other rather than capturing and taking them in alive. An exchange that I found particularly interesting regarding the Con OP that I think sums him up well comes from The Dain Curse and I've copied it here from Wiki:

The Dain Curse posted:


"You came in just now, and then I saw -"
She stopped.
"What?"
"A monster. A nice one, an especially nice one to have around when you're in trouble, but a monster just the same, without any human foolishness like love in him...

This passage made me immediately think of Frank Miller's Sin City and the character Marv, who is a literal monster of a man, and who serves a similar purpose as a protector and anti-hero, dishing out his own justice in questionable ways.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Sam Spade: Easily one of the most famous of the Hardboiled genre, Spade appeared in The Maltese Falcon operating out of San Fransisco. Likes pork-chops. I didn't warm up to Spade very much, finding that he seemed to take a perverse delight in the distress of others and uncaring attitude.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chandler:



Philip Marlowe: A very dry, cynical, and plodding detective, Marlowe avoids giving direct answers whenever he can, preferring smart alec or purposefully meaningless remarks, and truly seems to delight in his job. I'm currently reading The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, and find that Marlowe reminds me a lot of the infamous Jimmy McNulty from The Wire, particularly when Marlowe works himself into a position that will turn half of the police officers in the city from friends into enemies in the name of justice/the client/ his own ego/sense of right and wrong.

Anyway, I hope some people on here are fans of the genre!

Professor Shark fucked around with this message at 12:49 on Jul 23, 2014

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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Chandler actually wrote a critical essay on detective fiction:

http://www.en.utexas.edu/amlit/amli...handlerart.html

jet sanchEz
Oct 24, 2001

Lousy Manipulative Dog

Hoke Mosely is my favourite hardboiled protagonist. Charles Willeford is an excellent writer and, like Hammet's San Fransisco, he crafts Miami into another character in the Mosely books. It is too bad Willeford died before he could write more Mosely novels but I highly recommend the four that he did write, starting of course with Miami Blues.

LionYeti
Oct 11, 2008





I'm almost done with Gone Baby Gone by Dennis LeHaye and its a great great bit of detective fiction. Kinsey and Genaro are a great partnership and the way the case gets under everyone's skin like a creeping sort of cancer is very well done. It is pretty dark though.

Hopeford
Oct 14, 2010

Eh, why not?


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Chandler actually wrote a critical essay on detective fiction:

http://www.en.utexas.edu/amlit/amli...handlerart.html

If I can just mildly step aside from hardboiled fiction proper and focus on Chandler himself(please stop me if this is too far from the thread) that essay is really interesting. Especially when you compare it to John Dickson Carr's "The Grandest Game in the World" which argues the exact opposite from Chandler, focusing on the idea of 'fairplay' detective stories as opposed to hardboiled stories. I always found the Chandler and Carr 'rivalry' so to speak more than a little interesting. It's almost funny how strongly they contrasted each other. If I read a novel about two writers who contrasted each other that much, I would take a step back and say "Alright, this is stretching the limits of my suspension of disbelief a little." They both represent their schools of detective fiction to an almost cartoonish point that I feel like talking about their differences is a good way to talk about the genre as a whole.

Both had similar past connections to England, issues with alcohol, more than a little skeptical of the concept of family, were deeply pessimistic about the modern world, and died when they were 71 years old. Another curiosity about them, and maybe this is just me and my selective memory, is that both gave women more character than men in their plots, albeit in different manners. At least I find myself remembering women surviving the plots of both their novels a lot more than men did. Their literary techniques contrasted each other very strongly in those two points though - women and plot.

Chandler tended to go for more blatant, sexually charged metaphors while Carr went for a more mysterious, alluring tone. Women also played different roles in both their books. One difference I always noticed is that in Carr's works, even the more action oriented ones, the woman is usually in charge of the 'chasing' in the romance while the opposite holds true for Chandler. Not to say that Carr was a feminist, but his work did display a certain respect for women, which was admittedly sometimes diminished by displaying a self-aware confusion towards them(not entirely unlike Wheel of Time, for a reference point).

Plot is how they most strongly differed. Chandler posed that "Fiction in any form has always intended to be realistic" while Carr was very much of the opposite opinion. Carr emphasized the idea of a puzzle plot, while holding borderline contempt for statements on human nature, while Chandler held the opposite opinion. Carr was a strong defender of the puzzle and Chandler was one of its biggest opponents...which brings me to the next point in which they become very similar. They were both somewhat hypocrites.

In spite of Chandler's open dislike for puzzle plots, more than once he ventured into the realm of the fantastic. Chandler's criticism of classical mystery fiction being unrealistic is ridiculous once you consider how many murders his private investigator stumbled upon. He departed from reality just as often as he didn't, only he engaged in a different kind of fantastical. I vaguely recall Kingsley Amis saying something of the sort about Chandler in "My favorite sleuths" but I could be remembering it wrong. In addition, stories like The Lady in the Lake aren't really that far from your average puzzle plot. Likewise, Carr who professed a love for the fairplay, went just as back on his word as Chandler did while writing And so to Murder which focuses more on character, humor and plot as opposed to a mystery.

Their feud was always interesting to me, because they contrast each other so strongly. They are both my favorite writer of their respective subgenre, but darn it if it isn't fun to read Carr talking about Chandler's novels.

quote:

[...]goes
whooping along at high speed,magnificently if somewhat
confusedly,until he reaches the last chapter.
There he takes one sweet spill into a net.He thrashes wildly,but he
can't get out;he can't explain why his characters acted as they
did,and he can't even talk intelligibly. if to some restraint
Mr.Chandler could add the fatigue of construction and clues-the one
day he may write a good novel'

Anyhow, sorry again for the mild derail, I just find that the criticisms and discussion of that particular essay are really interesting. Chandler's essay is pretty much the definition of the hardboiled genre for me, so discussing it is a bit fun for me.

Hopeford fucked around with this message at 22:29 on Jul 25, 2014

Coca Koala
Nov 28, 2005

ongoing nowhere


College Slice

Does anybody have thoughts on Playback, by Chandler? I wrote what was essentially my senior thesis on "Marlow as the Modern Knight" and read through The Long Goodbye for sources, but didn't end up finishing Playback because I needed to start finding some secondaries.

TLG just seemed like a really good wrapup to the character of Marlowe, and I know that people generally consider Playback to be weaker than the rest. Are they right, or should I read through all seven and finish the series this time?

In any case!

Raymond Chandler was a pretty incredible author; it turns out that essentially every noir/gangster parody is referencing something that Chandler did. He's very good at descriptions, and stylized dialogue that still reads as very natural. It's hard to imagine somebody referring to money as "cabbage" or "kale" and taking them seriously, but Chandler pulls it off in a way that feels very authentic.

Even if Playback isn't good, I should read the rest of his stuff again; it's been too long.

How many people here have read The Thin Man, by Hammett? Years ago, I found an analysis of it which stuck with me just because it was so completely contrary to how I read the story: essentially, the analysis states that Nick Charles is an alcoholic because he hates his life and hates the unauthentic people he now has to deal with as a result of having married into high society; he drinks to deaden his detective senses and to help him trudge through another dreadful, boring day.

I personally don't buy it; it's entirely possible that my interpretation of the character is being coloured by the portrayal of Nick and Nora by William Powell and Myrna Loy, but I recall him being generally happy and not at all surly or upset in the novel. He was definitely an alcoholic, but I got the sense that he just really liked the drink, and now had the money to be doing it constantly.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Coca Koala posted:

How many people here have read The Thin Man, by Hammett? Years ago, I found an analysis of it which stuck with me just because it was so completely contrary to how I read the story: essentially, the analysis states that Nick Charles is an alcoholic because he hates his life and hates the unauthentic people he now has to deal with as a result of having married into high society; he drinks to deaden his detective senses and to help him trudge through another dreadful, boring day.

I personally don't buy it; it's entirely possible that my interpretation of the character is being coloured by the portrayal of Nick and Nora by William Powell and Myrna Loy, but I recall him being generally happy and not at all surly or upset in the novel. He was definitely an alcoholic, but I got the sense that he just really liked the drink, and now had the money to be doing it constantly.

I just finished it before starting/finishing The Big Sleep. I definitely got the sense that Nick was bored with his life, going from a natural detective and into the role of Trophy Husband and drinking almost constantly out of boredom.

I also couldn't shake the sense that Nick and Nora were... very open in their relationship. While reading it I could have sworn that they had a threesome with the Wynant girl, since a chapter in the story ends with her coming into their room and asking if she could sleep with them, then the next chapter she's introduced as wearing one of Nick's shirts.

Combine that with Nick and Nora's banter about him going off with another woman at a party and Nora's flirting/petting with the Wynant Mother's husband, I thought that they were swingers.

What the Hell was the deal with the guy at one of their parties who asked if he could touch Nick's knee when Nick told him he used to bounce Dorothy on it when she was a child? That was just straight bizarre.

I Am Hydrogen
Apr 10, 2007



Professor Shark posted:

Philip Marlowe: A very dry, cynical, and plodding detective, Marlowe avoids giving direct answers whenever he can, preferring smart alec or purposefully meaningless remarks, and truly seems to delight in his job. I'm currently reading The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, and find that Marlowe reminds me a lot of the infamous Jimmy McNulty from The Wire, particularly when Marlowe works himself into a position that will turn half of the police officers in the city from friends into enemies in the name of justice/the client/ his own ego/sense of right and wrong.

I decided to pick up a copy of The Big Sleep yesterday after reading through the thread. I've never really read detective fiction before and was surprised with how much I'm enjoying it. It's funny, blunt, and fun to read. I also had no idea that The Big Lebwoski was loosely based on The Big Sleep. It hit me in the beginning of chapter 3 when Marlowe meets Vivian that her and the General seemed really familiar, and then it clicked. Good stuff.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I didn't know that, but thinking back (only saw TBL a couple times) the dialogue really seems to match up with Marlowe's dry wit.

You can guess what comes next.

He fixes the TV?

Edit: Currently reading Farewell, My Lovely and I'm not sure how I feel about the dramatic change Chandler takes by having Marlowe interacting with himself. The first instance of it is cool, with Marlowe's subconscious seemingly being the real detective by organizing and analyzing the little bits of information leading up to Marlowe being attacked while Marlowe seems to be the gruff cynic along for the ride, but it has become a recurring theme that is wearing thin towards the end of the novella.

Professor Shark fucked around with this message at 01:29 on Jul 29, 2014

Kelfeftaf
Sep 9, 2011


Ross Macdonald is very good, and would be considered on par with (or even better than) Hammett and Chandler if he wrote around the same time they did (he came about 10 years too late). Read Drowning Pool.

Also, Frank Miller blows.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I thought that The Drowning Pool sounded familiar- I watched both Harper films a few months back! I'll check out MacDonald's books after I'm done with Chandler.

Malaleb
Dec 1, 2008


Professor Shark posted:

Philip Marlowe: A very dry, cynical, and plodding detective, Marlowe avoids giving direct answers whenever he can, preferring smart alec or purposefully meaningless remarks, and truly seems to delight in his job. I'm currently reading The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, and find that Marlowe reminds me a lot of the infamous Jimmy McNulty from The Wire, particularly when Marlowe works himself into a position that will turn half of the police officers in the city from friends into enemies in the name of justice/the client/ his own ego/sense of right and wrong.

Marlowe develops quite a bit throughout the books he's featured in. It's been a while since I've read them, but I remember feeling like the biggest difference between Marlowe and the Op was that underneath his cynicism, Marlowe is a basically good person.

I remember enjoying MacDonald's books quite a bit, too, but I don't remember very much about the details.

For fans of the genre, I would definitely recommend James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series starting with The Neon Rain. I haven't kept up with the series lately, because after a while the plots start to seem a bit interchangeable, but Dave is a great character. He's capable of being a violent monster, but he also knows it is a terribly destructive way to live and usually tries not to be. Some pretty awesome fight scenes and a great "stick it to the rich and powerful" attitude. Plus, I think Burke writes some beautiful prose from time to time. They made a movie out of his book In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead a few years ago with Tommy Lee Jones, but it was just okay.

Malaleb fucked around with this message at 16:57 on Jul 31, 2014

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I finished Farewell, My Lovely yesterday.

While I enjoyed it, it still feels quite different from The Big Sleep, both with Marlowe's inner monologue being introduced, but also the surreality of the beach scene in the beginning when Marlowe is attacked as well as the docks and offshore gambling boats towards the end, where characters materialize and disappear into the fog.

I also watched Chinatown, and while I felt like the story was hardboiled, I didn't feel that Jack Nicholson fit the character. I also couldn't get over the Roman Polonski 13-year-old-drug-rape thing, which has put me off watching any of his work until now.

Professor Shark fucked around with this message at 14:12 on Jul 31, 2014

Mars4523
Feb 17, 2014


blakout posted:

I'm almost done with Gone Baby Gone by Dennis LeHaye and its a great great bit of detective fiction. Kinsey and Genaro are a great partnership and the way the case gets under everyone's skin like a creeping sort of cancer is very well done. It is pretty dark though.
That's book 4 out of a book 6 series. It starts out very strong but I think that the last one, Moonlight Mile is noticeably weaker than the rest (plot ends in anticlimax and Angie Gennaro is missing for large parts of the book). I have to say that the first three are really excellent though. They are A Drink Before the War, Darkness Take My Hand and Sacred.

An Apple A Gay
Oct 21, 2008



I love Ross MacDonald and Chandler too, a couple of years ago I picked up The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps and left it in the bathroom. Finished it and I'm gonna move on to another anthology. Part of the appeal of detective fiction is how fast it reads. Awesome dialogue and fast paced stories make for long, easy, shits.

Zola
Jul 22, 2005

What do you mean "impossible"? You're so
cruel, Roger Smith...

I have been slowly working my way through the Sammy Golden & Joseph Shanley series by Jack Webb (not the actor). The first book, The Big Sin, was originally published in 1952. It's good, pulpy detective fiction and I really have enjoyed the ones I have read so far. The author's wikipedia page has the list, and The Big Sin is currently $3.03 on Kindle if you prefer an e-reader.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I just finished The High Window a few minutes ago.

I really enjoyed it. The writing is much more sparse than Farewell, My Lovely, and the focus on Marlowe's thoughts and inner monologue is absent. I liked the disarray of the mystery, but for some reason the cast of characters and locations felt smaller than the previous two Marlowe novels I've read.

Marlowe as a character seems to have taken a dramatic shift in this novel as well, literally being compared to a gruffer, modern Galahad.

Skelevision
Sep 7, 2005

by Nyc_Tattoo


jet sanchEz posted:

Hoke Mosely is my favourite hardboiled protagonist. Charles Willeford is an excellent writer and, like Hammet's San Fransisco, he crafts Miami into another character in the Mosely books. It is too bad Willeford died before he could write more Mosely novels but I highly recommend the four that he did write, starting of course with Miami Blues.


I also highly recommend Willeford's original unpublished sequel to Miami Blues, Grimhaven, which is one of the most wonderfully bizarre and genre-subverting novels I've read. It was very much worth the effort to find a copy although I can certainly see why he decided to scrap it.

I haven't yet read the other published Hoke Mosely novels after Miami Blues, but I'm eager to see what elements from it, if any, are incorporated into the later books.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I haven't had a huge amount of time to read lately, but I'm slowly getting through The Lady in the Lake. Much more graphic than the other Marlowe novels.

savinhill
Mar 28, 2010


Has anyone read Ace Atkins' Devil's Garden? It sounds really interesting, it has Dashiell Hammett as a POV character while he's working the Fatty Arbuckle case as a Pinkerton. I've read some of Atkins' Quinn Colson Mississippi Sheriff books and he's pretty good at writing in the crime/detective genre, I just never remember to get his other standalone books.

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

DON'T POST IN THE ELECTION THREAD UNLESS YOU JOE BIDEN

Mars4523 posted:

That's book 4 out of a book 6 series. It starts out very strong but I think that the last one, Moonlight Mile is noticeably weaker than the rest (plot ends in anticlimax and Angie Gennaro is missing for large parts of the book). I have to say that the first three are really excellent though. They are A Drink Before the War, Darkness Take My Hand and Sacred.

I really enjoyed Gone Baby Gone (though at times the level of action got a bit implausible toward the end) but many Moonlight Mile was medicore. Like all Lehane's book I found it very readable so it was well worth the money I paid but the plot was weak and Amanda McCready was a ridiculous Mary Sue character and didn't feel believable at all. Then again, Bubba is a bit of a Mary Sue character as well and, again, just doesn't feel that plausible as a person. The idea of having your own best buddy who is just the most stone cold badass ever but also a basically decent guy to you and your wife feels like a fantasy wish projection, not something that belongs in a bleak hardboiled detective novel.

Also those books always feel a bit like the main character was a self insert of the author, an impression that only gets stronger when you find out that Lehane's wife is named Angie.

Now, that having been said, these books are just so drat readable that if I found another one of them in a book store I'd buy it and read it immediately. I don't know why but I would.

Borneo Jimmy
Feb 27, 2007

by Smythe


savinhill posted:

Has anyone read Ace Atkins' Devil's Garden? It sounds really interesting, it has Dashiell Hammett as a POV character while he's working the Fatty Arbuckle case as a Pinkerton. I've read some of Atkins' Quinn Colson Mississippi Sheriff books and he's pretty good at writing in the crime/detective genre, I just never remember to get his other standalone books.

I haven't read that one but I enjoyed Wicked City (which is about Phenix City) and that was entertaining.

By the way you can't talk about hard boiled PIs without talking about John D. Macdonald's Travis Mcgee series set in Florida. All of them are good but of the ones I've read so far Bright Orange for the Shroud and The Long Lavender Look are my personal favorites.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




My dad is a huge JDM fan and recommended the McGee books when I told him what I was reading. He has a bunch of the paperbacks downstairs, vintage covers and all. After I'm finished with Marlowe I think I'll pick them up.

Seldom Posts
Jul 4, 2010



Grimey Drawer

Professor Shark posted:

My dad is a huge JDM fan and recommended the McGee books when I told him what I was reading. He has a bunch of the paperbacks downstairs, vintage covers and all. After I'm finished with Marlowe I think I'll pick them up.

You should definitely do this. John D. is great. I read five in a row once. (You do start to notice his ticks at that point--I think he used the term "sybaritic bathtub" in every single one).

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I just finished The Lady in the Lake, I haven't had a lot of time to read these past few weeks. It continued to be more violent than any of the other stories thus far, and the plot became quite convoluted by the end, but it was enjoyable. Not the best Marlowe.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Working my way through The Little Sister now, though work has really interfered with my reading. Luckily I have a cold that has laid me out on my rear end, so I hope to finish it off today!

Roark
Dec 1, 2009

A moderate man - a violently moderate man.

Professor Shark posted:

Working my way through The Little Sister now, though work has really interfered with my reading. Luckily I have a cold that has laid me out on my rear end, so I hope to finish it off today!

If you thought The Lady in the Lake was dark and violent, The Little Sister gets much darker. It's great, though, and it's probably my favorite Marlowe that isn't The Big Sleep/The Long Goodbye.

Does anyone else have The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories or The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps? I picked up the Pulps book yesterday, and it's been a delight so far.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Roark posted:

If you thought The Lady in the Lake was dark and violent, The Little Sister gets much darker. It's great, though, and it's probably my favorite Marlowe that isn't The Big Sleep/The Long Goodbye.

Yeah, the ice-pick has been a very tidy yet creepy murder weapon up to the point I'm at. People "sleeping" peacefully with a little red dot on the back of their necks.

savinhill
Mar 28, 2010


I just started the James Ellroy book that just came out. It's called Perfidia and is so far set in LA right before the US joins WWII. Buzz Meeks and Lee Blanchard made cameos in the first chapter. I had no idea this was coming out til I stumbled across it earlier in the week and I'm psyched to be reading some new Ellroy crime fic.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I finished The Little Sister last night. It felt very different than other Marlowe stories (I realize I've said that for most of the Marlowe novels, Chandler changed quite a bit as an author over the course of the series), and I really felt the same sense of confusion and despair as Marlowe at the end when it turned out that Orfamay Quest, the titular "little sister", was fighting over "table scraps". Their last encounter is particularly emotional and Marlowe's contempt is beautifully described when he tells her that he wishes he could be in the room when Quest and her mother go to divide the measly $1000 they extorted at the price of their relationship with sister/ daughter Mavis Weld (Quest) and brother/ son Orrin Quest's life.

According to the introduction to my collection TLS was written at the point where Chandler was becoming disillusioned with Hollywood, which is extremely apparent upon reflection.

Nothing prepared me for the second ending (though upon reflection Roark did warn me) where Marlowe watches the doctor go up to Gonzales' apartment, knowing that he probably intends to kill her, and does nothing.

OilSlick
Dec 29, 2005

Population: Buscuit

I've been meaning to read Gone Baby Gone. I understand it's the fourth book in a series about a pair of private investigators. Do I need to read the first 3? Are they any good?

Mars4523
Feb 17, 2014


OilSlick posted:

I've been meaning to read Gone Baby Gone. I understand it's the fourth book in a series about a pair of private investigators. Do I need to read the first 3? Are they any good?
The first three are very good (and arguably the stronger half of the series).

LionYeti
Oct 11, 2008





Mars4523 posted:

The first three are very good (and arguably the stronger half of the series).

The first one is 90s as all hell that's either a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

Mars4523
Feb 17, 2014


blakout posted:

The first one is 90s as all hell that's either a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.
Yeah, it's really goddamn 90s (but then, it was written in the 90s).

savinhill
Mar 28, 2010


OilSlick posted:

I've been meaning to read Gone Baby Gone. I understand it's the fourth book in a series about a pair of private investigators. Do I need to read the first 3? Are they any good?

You don't have to read the previous ones but they are worth reading to various degrees. Don't read Moonlight Mile, it's really bad.

Danger
Jan 4, 2004

all desire - the thirst for oil, war, religious salvation - needs to understood according to what he calls 'the demonogrammatical decoding of the Earth's body'

Anyone have an opinion on Benjamin Black's Phillip Marlowe revival? Outside of publisher praise and endorsement from the Chandler estate, the reviews don't seem to be as glowing.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Danger posted:

Anyone have an opinion on Benjamin Black's Phillip Marlowe revival? Outside of publisher praise and endorsement from the Chandler estate, the reviews don't seem to be as glowing.

Stephen King seems to like it, for whatever that's worth:

Stephen King posted:

“Somewhere Raymond Chandler is smiling, because this is a beautifully rendered hardboiled novel that echoes Chandler's melancholy at perfect pitch. The story is great, but what amazed me is how John Banville caught the cumulative effect Chandler's prose had on readers. It's hard to quantify, but it's also what separated the Marlowe novels from the general run of noir (which included some drat fine novelists, like David Goodis and Jim Thompson). The sadness runs deep. I loved this book. It was like having an old friend, one you assumed was dead, walk into the room. Kind of like Terry Lennox, hiding behind those drapes."

Helsing
Aug 23, 2003

DON'T POST IN THE ELECTION THREAD UNLESS YOU JOE BIDEN

OilSlick posted:

I've been meaning to read Gone Baby Gone. I understand it's the fourth book in a series about a pair of private investigators. Do I need to read the first 3? Are they any good?

I read it without having read the rest of the series. It is a stand alone plot so you do not need to read the other books to enjoy it. There are some spoilers about the previous books though so if you're planning to read them and hate having plot points revealed then that could be an issue.

Roark
Dec 1, 2009

A moderate man - a violently moderate man.

Danger posted:

Anyone have an opinion on Benjamin Black's Phillip Marlowe revival? Outside of publisher praise and endorsement from the Chandler estate, the reviews don't seem to be as glowing.

It was enjoyable for what it was, but it came off (to me) as Chandler fanfiction. It reads like Chandler, but it's a little sterile - like, Black/Banville is trying his damnedest to write in Chandler's voice and have you believe that Chandler wrote it. And there's also a couple of obvious anachronisms in the dialogue that are a little jarring and too 2014 to have been said by a detective in 1950s LA (nobody referred to cigarettes as "cancer sticks" in the 50s).

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Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Reading The Long Goodbye right now

I don't know how I feel about the "Marlowe gets friends!" stuff so far. The Lennox stuff was fine, but Raymond Chandler's insert of Wade has come across as feeling very... self-insert-y in the few chapters I've read since he was rescued.

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