Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Westlake's Somebody Owes Me Money was fun, light fare, leaning towards his Dortmunder style of books.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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

I've been really enjoying the Easy Rawlins series. Black protagonist is a really interesting way to reinvent period noir (esp. Given the recent news articles that Sam Spade may have been based on a black P.I., etc.)

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I've been really enjoying the Easy Rawlins series. Black protagonist is a really interesting way to reinvent period noir (esp. Given the recent news articles that Sam Spade may have been based on a black P.I., etc.)
Really? I loved the first one, snoozed through the second and didn't bother finishing the third; I thought Mosley stopped writing a story and went full on social critique by that point.
e: Might be because I'm not American and thus rather disconnected from that part of history, but as detective stories, the second and third book just didn't do it for me.

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at 08:06 on Oct 1, 2016

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Heavy Metal posted:

That sounds pretty dark, maybe a bit too dark for me, but I do plan to check out some of his other books. Speaking of Hard Case Crime books (that's published as one of them), any gems or personal favorites in that line? It looks like they throw in some new books too as well as classic reprints. Stuff like "Fade to Blonde" and whatnot, anybody dig any of these books? They seem pretty obscure, at least by GoodReads standards, only having a few hundred ratings on a lot of them.

You can't really go wrong with anything from HCC, though the book that Gore Vidal wrote is a little hit or miss.

MURDER IS MY BUSINESS is one I like a lot, and Shane Black has named it as a big influence on his own work, along with anything that Brett Halliday has written. The QUARRY series from Max Allan Collins is excellent and really anything from Lawrence Block is worth while. Though it doesn't quite suit the label, I thought that Stephen King's JOYLAND was very good. It's essentially a mystery with some supernatural stuff on the fringes. Maybe. I also love the covers they did for them and was tempted to get the variants just so I'd have the alternate art. On that note, I'd love some of them blown up and made into posters.

What's awesome though is that HCC are about to release a new book from Westlake and it's a riff on Bond. He was approached by Bond producers to come up with a story, and it was set during the handover of Hong Kong. They never used it so Westlake turned it into a book but never got around to publishing it. I mean look at this, it screams 007:

http://www.hardcasecrime.com/books_bios.cgi?entry=bk144

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

anilEhilated posted:

Really? I loved the first one, snoozed through the second and didn't bother finishing the third; I thought Mosley stopped writing a story and went full on social critique by that point.
e: Might be because I'm not American and thus rather disconnected from that part of history, but as detective stories, the second and third book just didn't do it for me.

I could see that. I agree the first is the strongest. What I really liked is the way having a black P.I. inverts all the classic noir tropes -- hard-boiled detective, crooked cops who give the P.I. a beat down, so forth. So it's ringing the changes on classic tropes through a fresh lens. Plus, you get to see Los Angeles change over time, too, and that's a feature I really like in P.I. novels -- they're always half about setting and watching that setting change over the course of the series ( Manhattan for the Nero Wolfe books, Florida for Travis McGee,. etc.)

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

DrVenkman posted:

What's awesome though is that HCC are about to release a new book from Westlake and it's a riff on Bond. He was approached by Bond producers to come up with a story, and it was set during the handover of Hong Kong. They never used it so Westlake turned it into a book but never got around to publishing it. I mean look at this, it screams 007:

http://www.hardcasecrime.com/books_bios.cgi?entry=bk144

Wow, that's literally the third lost last novel by Westlake. I know the guy was prolific, but how of these things did he have lying around?

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Xotl posted:

Wow, that's literally the third lost last novel by Westlake. I know the guy was prolific, but how of these things did he have lying around?

Probably a lot. The folks that make their living writing this kind of fiction do it based more on quantity than quality, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that Westlake passed with half a dozen or more unpublished novels floating around.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I could see that. I agree the first is the strongest. What I really liked is the way having a black P.I. inverts all the classic noir tropes -- hard-boiled detective, crooked cops who give the P.I. a beat down, so forth. So it's ringing the changes on classic tropes through a fresh lens. Plus, you get to see Los Angeles change over time, too, and that's a feature I really like in P.I. novels -- they're always half about setting and watching that setting change over the course of the series ( Manhattan for the Nero Wolfe books, Florida for Travis McGee,. etc.)

The 57th precinct books and the Matthew Scudder series are great for that as well. Even though 57th precinct is set in a fictional city, it still very much has a time and place and part of the joy is ultimately watching that change. The Rawlins books are great for the same reason. To that end, has the same thing ever been done but with a woman at the centre?

Heavy Metal
Sep 1, 2014

America's $1 Funnyman

DrVenkman posted:

You can't really go wrong with anything from HCC, though the book that Gore Vidal wrote is a little hit or miss.

MURDER IS MY BUSINESS is one I like a lot, and Shane Black has named it as a big influence on his own work, along with anything that Brett Halliday has written. The QUARRY series from Max Allan Collins is excellent and really anything from Lawrence Block is worth while. Though it doesn't quite suit the label, I thought that Stephen King's JOYLAND was very good. It's essentially a mystery with some supernatural stuff on the fringes. Maybe. I also love the covers they did for them and was tempted to get the variants just so I'd have the alternate art. On that note, I'd love some of them blown up and made into posters.

What's awesome though is that HCC are about to release a new book from Westlake and it's a riff on Bond. He was approached by Bond producers to come up with a story, and it was set during the handover of Hong Kong. They never used it so Westlake turned it into a book but never got around to publishing it. I mean look at this, it screams 007:

http://www.hardcasecrime.com/books_bios.cgi?entry=bk144

Very very cool! I had that prequel The First Quarry on my to-read list too, looks like a good self contained one to try out. That Bond-ish Westlake book is very promising, I enjoyed the Commando 2 screenplay that never got made, random note.

Remulak
Jun 8, 2001

The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. Oh, and that stupid children's book 'The Little Prince,' ugh.


Yams Fan

Just finished the quite dope Murder is My Business, thanks for the recommendation. I feel about Hard Case the way I did about Black Lizard 20 years ago, always worthwhile. And I can read it on Kindle without showing the awesomely lurid covers.

As DrVenkman noted, Max Allan Collins is excellent and really anything from Lawrence Block is worthwhile, although I'll, add Mickey Spillane to the mix. And while I can believe that Dick Aleas is indeed a pseudonym, good for him, and I owe the dude a beer.

I read the Commando 2 screenplay, although the one I found way by DeSousa, is there one by Westlake?

And on topic, I remember reading a Black Lizard back in the day that still haunts me, but I can't remember much about it, including title or author, but it had some great writing. I think it was a period reprint rather than a new novel, and it was incredibly bleak. For some reason there were these gangsters stuck in the basement of a larger building, and one after another they ended up murdered by one another and thrown in the furnace. Anybody have any idea?

Remulak fucked around with this message at 05:11 on Oct 4, 2016

Heavy Metal
Sep 1, 2014

America's $1 Funnyman

Remulak posted:

I read the Commando 2 screenplay, although the one I found way by DeSousa, is there one by Westlake?

Indeed not by Westlake, mentioned it as another unmade movie thingy that came to mind. But it is awesome that somebody else on here has read it. Now I just need to read BeetleJuice Goes Hawaiian sometime.

Heavy Metal fucked around with this message at 14:56 on Oct 4, 2016

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



Remulak posted:

And while I can believe that Dick Aleas is indeed a pseudonym, good for him, and I owe the dude a beer.

It's a pseudonym for Charles Ardai, the guy that runs HCC. I believe he has largely abandoned it and just publishes under his own name now.

ZZZorcerer
Jul 24, 2007



Any detective series with supernatural elements ? More Gabriel Knight and less Harry Dresden. Urban Fantasy normally has little mystery and way too much spell battles

Ornamented Death
Jan 25, 2006

Pew pew!



ZZZorcerer posted:

Any detective series with supernatural elements ? More Gabriel Knight and less Harry Dresden. Urban Fantasy normally has little mystery and way too much spell battles

You'll be wanting the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly.

Mr. Kurtz
Feb 22, 2007

Here comes the hurdy gurdy man.

Finally got around to reading The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain and I thought it was fairly enjoyable, if a bit brief. It was refreshing to read a hard-boiled book from the criminal's point of view. Can't say I liked it more than anything of Chandler's but it was good enough to induce buying the rest of his bibliography. Also the most recent editions of Cain's books have some great noir inspired cover art that looks great on the shelf.

I also caved and bought L.A. Confidential but I've heard really mixed opinions on Ellroy. If it's half as good as the movie I'll be satisfied.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




Huh, I hadn't realized LAC was based in a book. I really like that movie!

Carthag Tuek
Oct 15, 2005

Tider skal komme,
tider skal henrulle,
slægt skal følge slægters gang




I really enjoyed the L.A. Quartet (L.A. Confidential is the 3rd, but I suppose it's not strictly necessary to read them in order – recurring characters & references to earlier events, but separate plot arcs).

Underworld USA is also very good, but his prose gets more and more telegram/headline/stage notes-like in his later books & it's probably an acquired taste.

e: From White Jazz (4th LAQ):

quote:

I drove to the set just to see her; I figured one look would say yes or no.
Big blue eyes looked right through me – I couldn't even guess. She acted; she laughed; she talked – her voice gave nothing away. I stuck to the trailers and framed her in longshots – Miss Vampire/maybe pimp slasher. A change of costume, demure stuff to low-cut gown––
Shoulder-blade scars. ID them: slash marks, one puncture would/bone notch. Call it à la Hush-Hush:
HOOKER/ACTRESS MURDERS HALF-BREED PIMP! AIRPLANE MOGUL SMITTEN! ROGUE COP STEPS FROM CLOVER TO poo poo!
I watched her act, watched her subtle-goof the whole silly business. Dark came on, I just watched, no one bugged the skulking stage-door Johnny.
Rain shut things down – I would have watched all night otherwise.

Also his autobiographical book My Dark Places, where he researches his mother's murder with a retired cop, is really good.

Carthag Tuek fucked around with this message at 09:13 on Oct 12, 2016

Carthag Tuek
Oct 15, 2005

Tider skal komme,
tider skal henrulle,
slægt skal følge slægters gang




Ornamented Death posted:

Any Lawrence Block fans in here? I finished Grifter's Game a while back and holy poo poo what a nihilistic ending.

Also drat, you weren't kidding. Finished this last night and that poo poo was dark.

Ben Nevis
Jan 20, 2011


Mr. Kurtz posted:

Finally got around to reading The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain and I thought it was fairly enjoyable, if a bit brief. It was refreshing to read a hard-boiled book from the criminal's point of view. Can't say I liked it more than anything of Chandler's but it was good enough to induce buying the rest of his bibliography. Also the most recent editions of Cain's books have some great noir inspired cover art that looks great on the shelf.

If you want hardboiled from the criminals point of view, you might want to check out Jim Thompson. I've read The Killer Inside Me and Hell of a Woman by him. They're short, sordid and brutal and they definitely hit that sort of hardboiled feel.

Remulak
Jun 8, 2001

The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. Oh, and that stupid children's book 'The Little Prince,' ugh.


Yams Fan

If you haven't ready EVERYTHING by Jim Thompson then you're missing out, similarly Ellroy, although his peak readability happened with the L.A. Quartet.

If you dig 20th century US history, Ellroy is amazing, as he ties together threads that I didn't see connected, especially in American Tabloid &etc. There have been several things that happened in his books that I assumed were fictional, but I later learned were not.

Edit - also Barry Gifford's always great. Sailor and Lulu books are all worthwhile.

Remulak fucked around with this message at 21:33 on Oct 12, 2016

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'

LA Confidential is required reading for this thread imo. Big Nowhere is my favorite though.

ketchup vs catsup
Nov 30, 2006



Does it count has hardboiled if the detective is a police officer? I've been reading the Wallander books after my parents raved about the show and after hearing about the surge in Swedish crime fiction post-Dragon Tattoo.

I'm just getting into book 3 and they're...OK? I'm compelled to keep reading because I want to know what happened, but I don't feel any particular love for the character, nor do I feel like the writing is engrossing.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Danger posted:

Big Nowhere is my favorite though.
Same here. It's a shame it's the one that gets the least recognition, people usually rant about Black Dahlia and LA Confidential.

Remulak
Jun 8, 2001

The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. Oh, and that stupid children's book 'The Little Prince,' ugh.


Yams Fan

American Tabloid is his peak. Blew my mind about what could be done in the form.

Professor Shark
May 22, 2012




I'm watching Too Late on Netflix right now and really enjoying it, not just because of the full frontal nudity

PlisskensEyePatch
Oct 10, 2012


Remulak posted:

American Tabloid is his peak. Blew my mind about what could be done in the form.

That whole trilogy is great. Perfidia was outstanding as well. I'm just an Ellroy fan, though.

Trying to read Mike Hammer, starting from the beginning, and just can't get into it. Don't know what it is that's putting me off, but it's not clicking for me.

FairyNuff
Jan 22, 2012



ZZZorcerer posted:

Any detective series with supernatural elements ? More Gabriel Knight and less Harry Dresden. Urban Fantasy normally has little mystery and way too much spell battles

The Devil's Detective and the sequel The Devil's Evidence by Simon Kurt Unsworth might be a good fit.

No spell slinging just a sinner stripped of memory in hell being being assigned as a detective to investigate a murder in hostile environment.

Carthag Tuek
Oct 15, 2005

Tider skal komme,
tider skal henrulle,
slægt skal følge slægters gang




Speaking of off-template hardboiled, I really liked Mieville's The City &The City and Chabon 's Yiddish Policemens Union.

Remulak
Jun 8, 2001

The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. Oh, and that stupid children's book 'The Little Prince,' ugh.


Yams Fan

Powaqoatse posted:

Speaking of off-template hardboiled, I really liked Mieville's The City &The City and Chabon 's Yiddish Policemens Union.
Endorsed, both great. Don't read about The City... in advance.

After re-reading The Grifters, I want remind people in this thread how loving amazing Jim Thomson was, is, and ever shall be.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Powaqoatse posted:

Speaking of off-template hardboiled, I really liked Mieville's The City &The City and Chabon 's Yiddish Policemens Union.
I'll add Club Dumas to that. Not a traditional detective story but a pretty fantastic read.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

PlisskensEyePatch posted:

Trying to read Mike Hammer, starting from the beginning, and just can't get into it. Don't know what it is that's putting me off, but it's not clicking for me.

If you're not liking it at the start, you almost certainly won't like it at all. The Hammer series is universally considered to be best up during its first run, up through '52 and Kiss Me Deadly. I tried a later one just to see if the consensus might be off (The Body Lovers), and while it started off well, the ending came like Spillane realized he had a novel due that he'd been putting off and wrapped it up in a few hours.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

I never read much Isaac Asimov: just have a very vague high-school era memory of finding early sci-fi rather dry. But he also wrote a series of mysteries called The Black Widowers. They were based on a real social club he belonged to -- the Trap Door Spiders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_Door_Spiders

This was a men's only dining club that met once a month, originally founded to get away from a particularly annoying wife of one of the members, that none of the other guys liked (and whom were collectively disliked by the wife). It was basically a chance for a bunch of highly-educated, highly-intelligent guys to sit around and shoot the poo poo over fine wine. Aasimov fictionalized the setting and some of its members and created a fun series of mysteries. Each meeting has a different special guest, and inevitably something comes up for the club members to argue, wrangle over, and try to get to the bottom of. The mystery and the topics of discussion, as befitting someone as absurdly learned as Asimov, vary wildy.

I have the first volume. What surprised me right away was how full of life they were. Asimov has a reputation as a bit of a ... functional writer: he always gets the job done, but "verve" is never a word I've seen associated with his work. The Widowers stories are a great deal of fun: the characters come to life, there's plenty of energy, good pacing, and good characterization. Most of the stories were written for magazines, but even so they had a strong element of serialization and continuity, with members referring to previous incidents (both the mysteries as well as smaller bits of characterization). When collected, Asimov tells us in his forward that he tightened this aspect, reducing some of the reintroduction bits of character and background at the start of each story so that it wasn't as tedious for someone reading them all straight through. He adds afterwords to each tale, explaining their genesis, the origins of a story's title, and any corrections made to the text after such and such reader wrote in and corrected Asimov on some point or pointed out a loophole.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Widowers

Xotl fucked around with this message at 14:20 on Apr 5, 2017

HIJK
Nov 25, 2012

People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.


Xotl posted:

I never read much Isaac Asimov: just have a very vague high-school era memory of finding early sci-fi rather dry. But he also wrote a series of mysteries called The Black Widowers. They were based on a real social club he blonged to -- the Trap Door Spiders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_Door_Spiders

This was a men's only dining club that met once a month, originally founded to get away from a particularly annoying wife of one of the members, that none of the other guys liked (and whom were collectively disliked by the wife). It was basically a chance for a bunch of highly-educated, highly-intelligent guys to sit around and shoot the poo poo over fine wine. Aasimov fictionalized the setting and some of its members and created a fun series of mysteries. Each meeting has a different special guest, and inevitably something comes up for the club members to argue, wrangle over, and try to get to the bottom of. The mystery and the topics of discussion, as befitting someone as absurdly learned as Asimov, vary wildy.

I have the first volume. What surprised me right away was how full of life they were. Asimov has a reputation as a bit of a ... functional writer: he always gets the job done, but "verve" is never a word I've seen associated with his work. The Widowers stories are a great deal of fun: the characters come to life, there's plenty of energy, good pacing, and good characterization. Most of the stories were written for magazines, but even so they had a strong element of serialization and continuity, with members referring to previous incidents (both the mysteries as well as smaller bits of characterization). When collected, Asimov tells us in his forward that he tightened this aspect, reducing some of the reintroduction bits of character and background at the start of each story so that it wasn't as tedious for someone reading them all straight through. He adds afterwords to each tale, explaining their genesis, the origins of a story's title, and any corrections made to the text after such and such reader wrote in and corrected Asimov on some point or pointed out a loophole.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Widowers

This sounds fascinating, thanks for the write up!

rocket_man38
Jan 23, 2006

My life is a barrel o' fun!!

ZZZorcerer posted:

Any detective series with supernatural elements ? More Gabriel Knight and less Harry Dresden. Urban Fantasy normally has little mystery and way too much spell battles

Joe Pitt casebooks by Charlie Huston. I am reading the first one and really enjoying it. The premise turned me off at first, but it is well written.

Ben Nevis
Jan 20, 2011


rocket_man38 posted:

Joe Pitt casebooks by Charlie Huston. I am reading the first one and really enjoying it. The premise turned me off at first, but it is well written.

Huston is generally fun. Hard and action packed. The Caught Stealing series is good non-supernatural in a hardboiled but not really detective way.

I just finished Get Carter and it was decent, but felt a little underwhelming.

PlisskensEyePatch
Oct 10, 2012


Jack Carter's Law was better than Get Carter. Still haven't made it through the third book of that series.

Pink Robot Army
Jul 4, 2009


Been reading a bunch more of Richard Stark's Parker series again and I'm always reminded of just how much I love these. I've read a bunch of Westlake's other stuff, but I was curious: are there any other good Heist/Robber novels/authors out there? I particularly like how quickly the Parker books move, and how workman-like the approach is. I usually just feel like I'm watching a heist planned and then unfold. Anything else that good out there?

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

HIJK posted:

This sounds fascinating, thanks for the write up!
They're for the most part utterly fantastic, although very much cozy mysteries; detective books don't get much more soft-boiled than that.

hatelull
Oct 29, 2004



ZZZorcerer posted:

Any detective series with supernatural elements ? More Gabriel Knight and less Harry Dresden. Urban Fantasy normally has little mystery and way too much spell battles

Check out the Markus Novak novels from Michael Koryta: Last Words and Rise the Dark.

These have some hints and allusions to supernatural for sure, but it's 90-95% gritty detective fiction. Koryta isn't afraid to embrace the supernatural stuff (see So Cold the River and The Cypress House) but those are one-off stories heavy into the noir side of things but not really private eye type stuff. The Markus Novak books however definitely set up a larger story arc.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mr. Kurtz
Feb 22, 2007

Here comes the hurdy gurdy man.

I finished L.A. Confidential a week ago or so, and the fact that they turned that book into a cogent two hour movie is pretty incredible. I liked both versions but probably prefer the movie. But holy poo poo when Ed kills the Nite Owl Suspects in cold blood I was really freaking surprised. My only problem was there was such a huge cast I kept forgetting who people were. One of those character cheat sheets in Russian novels would have helped out. Still, the book was pretty much impossible to put down so Elroy is doing something right.

  • Locked thread