Monday, 24 January 2011


My obituary of Joe Gores, one of my favourite crime writers, is in today's Daily Telegraph, unbylined as is their custom; you can link to it here. Gores was a friend of my friend John Basinger; they had been together in Kenya when Gores was teaching there, and speaking with John recently he said he and a third common friend from those days had been able to get together on the phone not so long ago. Despite his illness, John said; Joe was bothered only by the fact that his illness was making it difficult for him to write; he was one of those old pulp-magazine style pros who looked at writing as a daily job, not a grind, but something that rewarded the persistent hard work that went into it. I think his writing shows it, not just in his understanding of the markets to which he sold, and the readers for whom he wrote, but his deep understanding of the genre in which he worked. His body of work, including the classic DKA series, is impressive enough, but he hit an amazing peak in the mid-1970s, with his back to back masterpieces Interface (see my essay on that book here) and Hammett, which to my mind ensure his place among the all-time greats.

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