New Orleans, Louisiana's LEW GRIFFIN is a professor, poet, novelist, and occasional private eye who has so far appeared in six well-received, stylish, defiantly literate novels that have brought author James Sallis comparisons to Walter Mosely and Chester Himes. But Sallis seems to be aiming higher than just that. Lew's obsession with missing children -- and his quest to find them -- maypermeate the series, but the real thrust seems to be the art of writing itself.
Phrases such as "brooding," "powerful," "allusive, haunting prose," "surreal quality," "highly literate" and the ever-popular mention of the "dark truths about American racism and the search for identity" are not uncommon in reviews of this series. But don't let all the lofty ambitions and the high-minded blurbery scare you away -- these are kick-ass stories. It's just that their full impact sneaks up on you in deft and often surprising ways.
A renowned critic, poet, essayist and professor himself, Sallis has written a highly-regarded critical study of Jim Thompson, David Goodis and Chester Himes entitled Difficult Lives, and has recently started a new series about another detective, Turner, who doesn't quite fit in. Currently Sallis teaches writing classes at Phoenix College in Arizona and at Otis College in Los Angeles.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Stewart Wilson for the heads up.
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