Monday, January 11, 2010

Robert Crais vs. LA Noir

TOMORROW is the release date for the new novel by Robert Crais, "The First Rule." Crime fiction aficionados know Crais as a deft, literate writer with a strong sense of place and of social history -- one of the great inheritors of Ross Macdonald in the world of West Coast noir.

HERE is my profile of Crais, who is one of the best adjusted novelists I've ever spoken to -- someone who seems comfortable in this world as well as the imaginary world of his fiction. The piece tells the story of his long slog up from TV writing, his embracing and then (partial) outgrowing of Raymond Chandler's influence, the development of his private eye character Elvis Cole, and the emergence of Cole's sidekick Joe Pike into the lead position in some of his novels, beginning with "The Watchman."

And here, by the way, is writer Paula Woods' review of the new Crais novel.

Part of what I like about Crais is that he not only executes these books at a very high level, with a clockwork consistency, he's thought about what he's doing and can speak perceptively about the tradition in the broadest possible sense.

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