Saturday, April 07, 2007

Max Allan Collins; Fredric Brown

Max Allan Collins has written so many fine novels it’s impossible to rank his books.. That said, BLACK HATS, as by Patrick Culhane, has to be at or near the top.
The premise is irresistible. Back in the days of Prohibition a seventy year old Wyatt Earp joins his old friend Bat Masterson in New York as they take on an even more legendary and dangerous force, one Al Capone.
This is a sleek, swift tale told with enormous skill and energy. And for all the action he gives us, Culhane provides the fascinating life stories of Earp and Masterton (who is now a newspaperman) and also of Capone. New York City in that era comes to vivid life here. And Culhane offers a subtle but deeply moving look at two human beings near the end of their lives.
Another major novel from a master.


Writer Duane Swierczynski has an interesting interview on his blog with a producer who plans to turn Fred Brown's THE LENIENT BEAST into a low-budget movie.

I agree with Duane. Brown should not only be in print but readily available. As Duane points out, Brown never wrote the same book twice and experimented with form as few genre writers ever have. My own personal favorite is THE FAR CRY, a novel good enough to be compared to Julian Symons' THE 31st OF FEBRUARY in detailing a believable and horrific descent into madness.

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