Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books, April 8, 2011

Ed Gorman is the one of the authors in TOP SUSPENSE GROUP as well as the creator of many fine series of western and crime fiction series. You can find him here.

– The Broker. Berkley, paperback original, 1976. Paperback reprint: Foul Play Press, 1985, as Quarry.
Now that Max Collins' Quarry novels have been reissued by Perfect Crime in truly impressive trade paperbacks, I thought I'd look at again at a review of mine from the mid-Eighties when Foul Play Press reissued the first four from the original Berkley editions.
Collins has always made hired hit-man Quarry believable to me for two reasons. One because he makes the convincing case that the only people he kills are scum, often mobbed-up scum, anyway. And second because of Quarry's sardonic voice. Humor has a way of making things real and Collins is a master of it.
In The Broker, the first in the series, we meet Quarry shooting a man in an airport men’s room. Quarry’s assignment is to bring what the man is holding (heroin) back to his employer, an icy sort called the Broker. Quarry complies.
After complaining that he does not like to deal in drug killings, he reluctantly takes another Broker assignment, this one working with a homosexual killer named Boyd. In the rest of the novel, Collins shows us an abundantly unpleasant world peopled with all sorts of characters, from cuckolded husbands to porno-crazed geezers who look like Gabby Hayes.
The Broker and the other three novels in the first series — The Broker’s Wife (1976), The Dealer (1976), and The Slasher (1977) — depict the waning hippie/flower-power days with a great deal of historical accuracy. The Quarry books are therefore an important part of the crime fiction of the Seventies — a quirky, idiosyncratic look at the Midwest during the Gerald Ford regime.
The Quarry novels belong the shelves of every hardboiled fan. Max Collins is one of the finest artists of the form and these are vivid and compelling books that can be read again and again.
Patti Abbott

JULIAN'S HOUSE, by Judith Hawkes

I have this book starred in my log of books read twenty years ago. I was surprised to find that my library system no longer had it because I wanted to read it again. Hawkes no longer seems to be writing books. A shame because I know I liked this one.

Praised by the New York Times for its "passages rich with descriptive beauty, complex with philosophical theorizing and seductive with hard (and tantalizing) information"--Julian's House is the story of a husband and wife paranormal team, newly married, who move their high-tech (for the time) equipment into a Victorian house and stumble on the requisite history of bumps in the night.

Over the years, many home owners have reported various. phenomenon. Each tenant seems to encounter ghosts subtly suited to him/her.

The couple is prepared to encounter supernatural phenomena, but not clearly to confront what their own problems are. Is the house a mirror reflecting back the problems of its current tenants? Are the ghosts more than a projection? It is this issue that Julian's House examines. The writing in this book certainly is of a higher caliber than that found in many such books. But the horror level may not be high enough for devotees of Dean Kuntz or Stephen King. It got it just right for me.

Yvette Banek
Joe Barone
David Rachels
Margot Kinberg
Gerard Saylor
Paul Bishop
Bill Crider
Scott Cupp
Martin Edwards
Randy Johnson
George Kelley
K.A. Laity
B.V. Lawson
Evan Lewis
Todd Mason
J.F. Norris
James Reasoner
Richard Robinson
Ron Scheer
Kerrie Smith
Kevin Tipple

These were the blogs that had FFB posts as of 9:00 AM. EST. I will add any others midday.


Gerard said...

I, too, like Max Collin's Midwestern settings. They give a neat look into the culture at the time.

It is difficult to find those older Quarry novels so I'll have to hunt down the reprints.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Sorry I am late yet again.

'THE JESUS THIEF" by J. R. Lankford is mine this week.


Anonymous said...

Let me add my agreement to Ed's review of the Quarry series. I've been a fan of the series since I read the first one in 1985 (and a fan of the author since I read his first in 1977), and I agree the Midwestern settings work really well.

Patti, never heard of the Hawkes before, but since my library system does have a copy still in storage I ordered it.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hope it holds up, Jeff.

Todd Mason said...

Dean Koontz, by me, is not a good writer, but I haven't tried too much after early exposure to DEMON SEED and a bit of his shorter perhaps I should give him another chance (considered INTENSITY, but the only good things about the television film of that one were the performances by Molly Parker and John C. McGinley). It's not too tough to find better prose than Koontz and King, sadly...wonder if Hawkes was a pseud.

Anonymous said...

Todd, Koontz has been very ill-served by Hollywood. If you want to try him again check out WATCHERS or DARKFALL.

Jeff M.

J F Norris said...

Will have to track this one down. Sounds a lot better than a haunted house book I read last year by Barbara Michaels (Someone in the House). So much build up and then... meh. It turns out to be a very poor impersonation of Burnt Offerings.

Anonymous said...

Patti - Thanks so much for including my post! Much appreciated!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for taking part!

Graham Powell said...

Oddly enough, I just read THE BROKER this week (reissued as QUARRY). I didn't like it as much as I have liked some of Collins' other work. It seemed to be trying a bit too hard. I'll probably at least read the next book in the series, QUARRY'S LIST, as I have heard good things about it.