October 31, 2012

Falling Down The Hard-Boiled Detective Wormhole

I find myself going down wormholes when I'm reading books. If I read a book from an author or a genre that I like I have to read more of the same. That's how I went from reading For Whom The Bell Tolls to A Farewell to Arms. It's like feeding an addiction. Once you have a taste you want a little more.

Right now my addiction is the hard-boiled detective genre. My mom has always loved these books so she recommended that I try it. So she gave me a copy of James Ellroy's LA Confidential. Now I've seen the movie LA Confidential quite a few times over the years and always liked the movie but had never tried the book before.

Everything I like about hard-boiled detective novels is in La Confidential. Crime, intrigue, sex, racism, and words like you would imagine how people from the 1950's spoke. And it's an easy read. Despite the book being over 400 pages you can get through it pretty easily. This is probably what I respect the most about LA Confidential and hard-boiled detective novels is that are easy to read. Don't get me wrong I love reading difficult novels by Faulkner like The Sound and the Fury. Just sometimes I need something easy to read. Something where I don't have to go back over what I just read to comprehend the language or plot.

I feel the same way about books the way I feel about movies. Sometimes you just want to read/watch something and not think too hard.

Speaking of not thinking hard, Elmore Leonard's books also fall into the hard-boiled detective genre that I've read recently. I finally read Leonard's two books that inspired my favorite TV show 'Justified', Pronto and Riding the Rap. While Leonard might not write books with plots as in depth as Ellroy, Leonard writes much better dialogue. Leonard's books are even smoother reads than Ellroy's because of the dialogue.

The master of the hard-boiled detective genre in my opinion is Raymond Chandler and his masterpiece is The Big Sleep. Want to read a quick but multi-layered plot that is entertaining as hell, than read the The Big Sleep. And when you're reading The Big Sleep go and watch The Big Lebowski. Just do it and don't ask questions.

I don't know which wormhole I'll go down next. For right now I'll probably read a couple more of Leonard's books because as I said they're easy to read, but I'll fall down another wormhole soon.

1 comment:

  1. Make sure you give Ellroy's "American Tabloid" a shot. I think you might soon end up reading that entire trilogy.