Thursday, March 25, 2010

CRIME FICTION ALPHABET: V IS FOR VALIN



My delayed contribution [I did have an excuse] to the letter "V" Crime Fiction Alphabet meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is V is for Valin; Jonathan Valin.

I came across Jonathan Valin when reading a Rap Sheet article about forgotten authors, whose readers would like to see become come back kids.
Extenuating Circumstances was the eighth in a series published about Cincinnati based PI Harry Stoner, and it won the Shamus Award in 1990.

Ira Lessing has everything a man could wish for a pretty young wife, good friends, a successful business, Rothkos on the wall, and a reputation as a man who does good deeds for those not as fortunate as himself. When he disappears Harry Stoner is called in to investigate and before long it becomes clear that Ira and his reputation are both dead ducks.

"But the cops do, right? I guess you can't be a kind, charitable human being- a decent man with a genuine concern for other people-without being labeled a queer."

Jonathan Valin received the highest praise during his writing career such as:

'Jonathan Valin is the legitimate heir to the Raymond Chandler-Ross Macdonald mantle.' San Antonio Express News.

'...-and that puts him in the very small class who transcend the noble ghosts of Chandler and Hammett.' Peter Straub

I have to say that his writing style is very gritty, and sometimes his ability to describe brutal events in great detail leaves you stunned, and wondering if it is really necessary to spell it out for the readership with such clarity.
Extenuating Circumstances is a fast compelling read, but the subject matter which concerns the world of young male homosexual prostitutes and hustlers [called rent boys in the UK] might just be too dark for some readers.

He was probably no more than forty, but he was definitely on his third or fourth lifetime.

4 Comments:

Blogger Margot Kinberg said...

Norman - Thanks for sharing this. Delayed or not, it's fascinating. It sounds quite gritty, but compelling and to me, compelling excuses gritty and dark. I hope your healing goes well.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Maxine said...

Sounds intriguing, Norman, I think I might like this one. I have been accumulating books madly in your absence, though, most of it entirely my own fault. So heaven knows when I could read this - 2149, perhaps?

12:33 PM  
Blogger Maxine said...

PS is that photo in the post the author or you? ;-)

12:33 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Margot and Maxine. I had not seen the likeness until you pointed it out Maxine ;o)

2:24 PM  

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