Thursday, 2 May 2019


My obit of Warren Adler, whose 50 novels included The War Of The Roses, from which was made a hit film, is online at the Guardian; you can link to it here. It should be in the paper paper soon. Of course the movie is what the hook for the obit was -- it's odd that such a successful and prolific writer should have such a low-profile output.

It is pretty much as I wrote it--but one thing was edited out. I have to confess I had never come across, in my time as a crime fiction reviewer, any of his Fiona Fitzgerald novels. They sound intriguing, and almost a natural for development on TV. I mentioned that, but what was cut out was the fact that the adapter is currently Eric Overmyer--who was the showrunner and adapter of Bosch (and was working on Man In The High Castle as well.) That would bode well.

In Adler's own biography, he mentioned that his classmates at the New School for Social Research included Marion Puzo and William Styron; when I wrote Thomas Berger's obit I recall writing the same thing. So I wonder if they ever overlapped, or if they somehow moved in different circles. I also wondered if Berger's The Neighbors (1980) might have been an influence on War Of The Roses?

Adler is good with set-ups, and it was impressive to me just how prevalent the theme of broken, dangerous or twisted relationships was at the heart of his books, whatever their genre. That he was such a devoted family man shouldn't surprise anyone, but making fiction out of the opposite, repeatedly, is something remarkable. I read a piece he wrote for the magazine of the American Association of Retired People, from which I drew that final quote, and it was very moving: told from a point of view of his own loss, you might say victimhood, and it seemed to me a cruel way of his having to go through what he put so many characters through.

It was also fascinating that, in his first career as a DC PR, he should have advised Nixon (on how he could win the Jewish vote) and been the man who gave the Watergate complex its name. Because of course the Guardian obit I had written just two days before Adler's was that of James McCord, leader of the Watergate burglar's, whose confession was the key to Nixon's being brought down. A strange bit of

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