Sunday, April 05, 2015

A letter from David Vineyard in Mystery-File

April 3rd, 2015 at 12:53 am
Yes, I mean Deaver, sorry that wasn’t clear.
We’ve talked about this but there is something missing in many of todays best known writers, some quality I can’t quote define, that won’t let me get into them or their work even when it is interesting.
They seem to hold me at arms length as a reader as if they are only letting the reader so far in so that reading them is like wading in the baby pool when you want to go in over your head with the full experience.
In some cases they are better writers technically than the ones who I may have read earlier, but they don’t involve me. The characters seem to lack dimension and the there is something shallow that lesser writers from the past still managed to convey.
I can’t get involved with a Patterson or Grisham, its all surface cleverness, but with no real depth even when the plot should be more involving at that level. I rely too much on the analogy, but too often the characters have no more depth that those on an average television series with even soap opera elements continuing from book to book not involving me.
I was no fan of Dell Shannon as a writer or her politics, but Luis Mendoza, whether I liked him or not, had a kind of reality about him I see too seldom in books today. The same even for a writer as mechanical as Erle Stanley Gardner could be — at least in the later Mason’s.
There is a conviction missing in too many of the big names writing that even minor writers seemed to capture in the past. Maybe because in the past they were writing books, and today you are getting screenplays with narrative too often.

Lately cinematic is no longer a compliment from me if they don’t also manage literary.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Well, Deaver is also wedded to idiot plotting, to such a degree that his characters tend to be idiots as well. I find him often unreadable thus. This does seem to be a roundup of our most shallow cf writers, at least the popular guys in the 3ft end.