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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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Classic crime authors
thinking, perplexed

Discussing The Grifters on #perl:

<mendel> What other authors would one want to check out if one were
         becoming a fan of, say, Jim Thompson and Raymond Chandler?
<Fletch> go to amazon and see what they reccomend.  
Why ask people about books when you can ask a machine? Argh.

So, anyhow, I'll try with a different audience. Hello, audience!

What other authors would one want to check out if one were becoming a fan of, say, Jim Thompson and Raymond Chandler? I'm looking for the raw American crime-story style more than the polished English mystery novel style.

(Thanks due to stimps for turning me onto Thompson when I mentioned Chandler eons ago.)

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For a wonderful spin on similar material (maybe not so similar, but still wonderful), try Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem.

Good pick. See also Lethem's Gun, With Occasional Music, which is right up your alley. The rest of his books don't really fall in the hard-boiled category, though, but those two are excellent.

I personally haven't read it, but James Ellroy wrote L.A. Confidential which the movie was based on. Its a crime story, and a darn good one, if the movie is any indication.

Not quite in the same vein, but there's Robert B. Parker's Spencer novels. Parker did his thesis on Chandler and finished one of his incomplete novels.

Also perhaps not quite what you're looking for, but might work as an odd offshoot is Charles Willeford's stuff. Miami Blues is probably the best known, due to the film version.

I also always recommend Carl Hiassen, cause his stuff's WACKY. Not really "hard boiled" at all, but *highly* entertaining. I can recommend his first few (Tourist Season, Double Whammy, Skin Tight, Native Tongue (my personal favorite), Strip Tease (which is a lot better than the wretched movie they made of it)), but haven't gotten around to the later ones, although they're supposed to be good.

Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck mysteries are Swedish romans policiers, hard boiled in a european way, very gloomy but they draw you in deep.

William Marshall's Yellowthread Street novels are tragicomic romans policiers set in Hong Kong and are also highly recommended.

In addition to Cain and Lethem (already mentioned), I'd try Ross Macdonald--his style is very like Chandler's (to Chandler's apparent chagrin), and he has the LA setting as well.

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