Lancelot in the city. (or is it Galahad?)

It’s no secret that Raymond Chandler’s 1944 essay, The Simple Art of Murder laid out what is the foundation of modern crime fiction. It’s also no secret that Polanski, Towne, et al all but leveled that foundation 30 years later.

Yet, we still have space for heroes, and anti-heroes, who wade through our corrupt world to answer questions and right wrongs. Despite my fascination with the genre, I have always wondered what value, if any, does crime fiction still have, beyond plain good storytelling. I began to find clues in the works of Donald Goines, and Chester Himes and I want to pick up what they left behind.

That’s what I’m attempting to do with the John Burrey books. Besides telling a ripping yarn, and exploring this city that I love, I hope to create my own version of Chandler’s questing knight.

“He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.”

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