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L. A. Morse.

New York, Avon Books, c1981.
236pp, paper, $2.25.
ISBN 0-380-78329-0.


L. A. Morse.

New York, Avon Books, c1981.
224pp, paper, $2.25.
ISBN 0-380-77602-2.

Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

Award winner (The Old Dick) Larry Morse has provided a nostalgia that many thought was gone. In the footsteps of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler comes a new detective novelist whose character portrayals we all remember either because of our age or because we have seen these "typical" detective stories in old movies or on television. The old "dick" is a retired septuagenarian, but Sam Hunter of The Big Enchilada is just a younger version. Each, in their respective novels, takes us through the sleazy California underworld of drugs, porn, "broads," and archetypal villains. From their dumpy, run-down apartments, our .heroes venture forth into the big, bad, and ugly world. With lightning speed and even faster turns of events, Morse uses every cliche we have come to love in the wise-cracking private eye. It is pure "corn" from each first page, and you can chuckle your way through every one.

Naturally, the language is rough. It is as rough and unsavoury as the characters for whom it is natural. It speaks of the neighbourhoods and lifestyles that spawned it. So too, are the scenes, vividly described, that depict the typical haunts of this subculture. It is not the story-line that holds you but the scenes generated by it that keep going to the last page, all as reminiscent as the nostalgic illustrations of the covers.

Ted Monkhouse, Wellington County Board of Education, Guelph, ON.
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