Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Ballad of Gato Guerrero, Part One

I've read the first half of Manuel Ramos's "The Ballad of Gato Guerrero." Marvelous stuff. Ramos is, I think, the most poetic of the crime writers I've read on a line by line basis. Raymond Chandler came up with some great lines, but not even line impressed me. This is my third Ramos novel, and so far, every line impresses.

Also, he writes short novels which I think is key in a crime novel -- of course a procedural may need to take out space to explain or describe procedures and a historical may need to do the same to get across the historical nuances of an age, but if there is no reason for a book to be long, then it should be short. This may sound like the simplest advice in the world, but it really isn't. Publishers have word count targets that writers are asked or required to hit. Mine is 65k. Not sure why. Anyway, Ramos gives you a story where every line, every word, is integral. Cool.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jennifer Jordan said...

I can do nothing but agree to this post. Ramos was the inspiration for my only true fan girl moment at the Bouchercon in Las Vegas.

And in my review of "Mooney's Road to Hell", I called him masterful.

Wow, I blush just writing it now. He is brilliant and poetic. And yet steeped in reality. A very rare combination.

June 30, 2005 6:23 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

We're going to have to discuss him before I write him up for CrimeSpree. He's unbelieveably good. And I'm just talking about the sentence and paragraph level writing, not even getting into the mystery plot or the characterization, etc.

June 30, 2005 6:34 PM  

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