Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Andrew Klavan

OK, the other day I started to post something about Andrew Klavan, but I got sidetracked and wrote about blurbs instead. Today I plan to stick to the subject.

As I mentioned earlier, I started reading Klavan's books when he was writing as "Keith Peterson," and I liked them a lot. I've always felt that Klavan's True Crime, which came out some years after the Keith Peterson name had been retired, was basically a Keith Peterson novel. It had practically the same cast of characters that the Peterson novels did; they just had different names. But I'm digressing again. Let's face it: I can't help myself.

Anyway, little did I know when I was reading the Peterson books that Klavan had already won an Edgar for a paperback called Mrs. White, which was published by Dell under the name "Margaret Tracy." Apparently Tracy was a collborative named used by Andrew and Laurence Klavan, who I'm assuming is Andrew's brother. As a matter of fact, I just picked up Laurence Klavan's The Cutting Room at the library yesterday. OK, that's a digression, too. Or maybe it's two digressions. I apologize.

But here's another one. "Keith Peterson" also won a "Best Paperback" Edgar for The Rain. I wonder if Klavan's the only person to win Edgars under two different names, neither of them his own.

Back to Andrew Klavan as himself. I've read most of his books under that name. My favorite is The Uncanny, which is sort of a modern version of the English ghost story. I'm a sucker for ghost stories, and I really liked this book. It's a lot more than a ghost story, though, and I think the way it's put together is truly ingenious. (Be warned, however, that I've talked to several people who didn't like The Uncanny at all. Including my wife.)

What I've been reading lately is Klavan's two newest novels, Dynamite Road and Shotgun Alley. These books have it all: larger-than-life characters (and a few that aren't), humor, sex, violence, an amped-up style that I find amusing and effective, a narrative perspective borrowed from The Great Gatsby (and very well handled, I might add), several over-arching soap-opera plots involving all the main characters that continue from book to book (and seem far from being resolved in the second one), and just about anything else you (or at least I) could want in a book.

My wife, who's a big fan of some of Klavan's earlier novels (not The Uncanny, however) isn't especially fond of these new series novels, but I'm hoping they'll continue for several more years.


Anonymous said...

Bill, "Mrs. White" was made into a very unusual - and interesting - movie many years back entitled "WHITE OF THE EYE" by the late, great Donald Cammell. You might want to check it out.


Bill said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check out the movie. Klavan's done OK in Hollywood, I think, having written the script for another "sleeper" movie, A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM.

Kathy Braceland said...

Hey Bill, I just found your website and as a fellow Klavan fan (I've read all his books but 2), I just had to say that The Uncanny is also my favourite Klavan book. I absolutely love it! I'm a sucker for a great ghost story and I'm happy to see I'm not the last one.... Best, Kathy

Bill said...

Some reviewers didn't like The Uncanny, but what do they know!

Bee said...

Help. I have found a piece attributed to Laurence Klavan from a book entitled "One on One, best women's monologues of the 90s", the piece is called "the girl next door" (1991). Does anyone know where this came from? a play? A screenplay? A book? I would love to know the source! Thanks

Bill said...

Don't know the answer. Klavan also wrote a play or two. Could be from something like that.