Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wake Up to Murder, Peter Rabe, sticking it to Florida, and a question for readers

If Day Keene's Wake Up to Murder had appeared this century rather than in the middle of the last one, someone would have turned protagonist Jim Charters quest to remember where he picked up the mysterious $10,000 into an interactive video game.

2) Gil Brewer knew what to say to hot-weather chauvinists who lord it over the friends in the Northeastern United States in wintertime. Here's Lew Brookbank,protagonist of Wild to Possess:
"He took a short quick one. snapping off the neck. and turned to stare at the wall of Florida jungle growth beyond the road shoulder. 
"Florida, he thought. Why can't I get away from it?  Shove it--every last flat, wet, stinking acre."
3) I was not crazy about the first Peter Rabe novel I tried to read, but The Box is different, a slightly darker, slightly funnier version of that familiar theme of non-natives stranded in North Africa with nothing to do but wait ... Highsmith, Casablanca, Camus ... Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia apparently exercised considerable influence over makers of crime novels and movies in the middle of the last century, even before the wars that ended French colonial rule there. Why, readers, was this the case?

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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Blogger Philip Amos said...

Ah, Peter Rabe. He authored (code for 'in a few cases did not actually write') 33 novels. Of these, the titles of two, including The Box, came from him. So there goes my earlier brilliant wild guess re Gold Medal titles whirling round the bowl in ever-decreasing circles.

February 23, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I had not heard that Rabe authored (a verb to which accord as much respect as I do to "penned") some of his own books. Was he too busy working as a psychologist to write his own novels?

The Box is a fine title, full of associations bound to make a prospective reader slightly uncomfortable, none to them pleasant. And the novel that follows, at least as far as I have read, is wonderfully understated.

I picked up the book because the title was Rabe's own. A commenter on my titles post said The Box was the only Rabe novel to be published under the author's own title. And, the commenter added, The Box is his (the commenter's) favorite Rabe novel. So I bought the book, and I;m glad I did.

February 23, 2015  
Blogger Stark House said...

Peter, The Box is my favorite Peter Rabe novel as well, which is why I reprinted it first when I started Stark House. Now, several Rabe volumes later, we're in the midst of reprinting all his Daniel Port books. You should check those out as well.

March 04, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. A friend has recently recommended the Daniel Port novels with a hint, I think, that they were underappreciated.

March 05, 2015  

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