Friday, March 09, 2007

Guilty Pleasure...dammit, pleasure.

I think I got tired about Edwards S. Aarons Sam Durrell series about the time I hit college. I was by then a strident liberal and his Cold Warrioisms had palled for me.

What I didn't realize until several years later were how enjoyable his stand-alones were, even those written back in the Thirties for the how-low-can-you-go Phoenix House press.

Fortunately, I have about six or seven Aarons oldies left to read. I pick one up when nothing else is working for me. My favorites are those set during the war and right after the war. Especially those set in New York City where he spends some time making the city itself a charcater.

The one I'm reading now is Nightmare, a particularly tight and taut hardboiled number with a way too familiar theme--the drunken protagonist who can't remember anything surrounding the murder the cops he think he's guilty of.

While Aarons doesn't yet do one damned thing by way of freshening up the premise he does keep you reading and reading fast with his very beleivable people, his somewhat familiar but still heart and groin stirring femme fatale, and his various atmospherics. He does noir atmospherics exceptionally well.

I woldn't recommend him to anybody under fifty five. These one offs are so specific to the big war and its effects that as history and sociology (their chief values) they probably wouldn't be of much interest.

But for geezers...enjoy!


Unknown said...

As a geezer, I do enjoy Aarons, even the occasional Sam Durrell re-read. In those books, he really did some excellent descriptive writing about the various locations.

Anonymous said...

As a "youngster" I really enjoy the Sam Durrell novels for the simple reason its not all this tech savy Spy ficition floating around today.

Plus they are super easy to find and cheap

Ed Gorman said...

Bruce--Try some of his one offs though. I can still read the occasional Durrell (I don't hate them; I'm more conservative now than I was then) and I certainly agree with Bill that he sure can write place description...but in a book like The Art Studio Murder you get to see him flex a lot more literary muscle. While some of the one offs are better than others, I haven't read a bad one yet. He was a very accomplished old-style pulp writer whether writing the Durrells or his other books. I'm pretty sure he wrote for a lot of the pulps mags in the Thirties. be interesting (and expensive) to see what those stories were like.

Anonymous said...

Ed I've got a few of the one offs and I've been meaning ot read them. But whne i decide to read for my column. I get all these idea and books that were on top of the pile are moved around. Give me some help here are the one offs I do have, tell me if any should be skipped.

Girl on the Run
Come Back, My Love
Don't Cry, Beloved
Escape To Love

Juri said...

I remember somewhat enjoying NIGHTMARE, but also THE NET (Graphic 1959) and DARK DESTINY (Graphic 1953).