#95 – The Tall Dolores, Michael Avallone BOOK REVIEW

November 2, 2018
krauserpua

Ed Noon Tall Dolores

I told you I was getting a bit of a man-crush on Michael Avallone after reading his woeful The Satan Sleuth trilogy. I’ve also had a thing for his English equivalent, John Creasey. Now, I know what you’re thinking: why on earth get so into ham & egg writers, mere journeymen, when you could be reading the stars? I could be educating myself with the Past Masters series on great philosophers, or learning about a period of history, or indulging in the classics such as Hugo, Dantes, or Tolstoy. Why read trash?

Well, the first answer is that it’s great fun. I may not have studied as much philosophy as I should, but I’m pretty sure those bearded old bastards talked about the importance of enjoying yourself. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Second answer is that intelligent books are overrated. My general rule in reading life is never buy a book that won a modern award. That’s a guarantee it’ll be brimming with poz. I was also rather disappointed to discover how boring most of the classics really are. Tolstoy in particular is woefully boring. Also, most “great thinkers” simply weren’t. For example, Nietzsche was the first Secret King gamma [1], Marx was a buffoon, Sartre and Foucault traitorous fags and….. well, philosophy isn’t all shit but no-one ever accused Michael Avallone or John Creasey of not coming to the point and clearly writing what they mean.

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The Pittsburgh Windmill

I think the real answer – however – is I greatly admire any man who can be vastly prolific without dropping his quality into shitsville. This goes for most realms of human activity. Thus I greatly admire middleweight boxer Harry Greb who had 299 official fights [2] including the last ninety while blind in one eye. He was a world champ and gave heavyweight champ Gene Tunney is sole professional loss. Equally, I admire MMA fighters Igor Vovchanchin and Travis Fulton, and kickboxer Buakaw Por Pramuk – all extremely active fighters with high peaks [3]. I admire Marc Bolan for writing hundreds of songs, Mario Bava for all his movies, and anyone who bangs lots of hot girls while studiously avoiding swamp trolls.

Avallone and Creasey belong in that company. They race through their work and, if I hadn’t told you otherwise, you’d just assume they wrote at the one/two-books-a-year pace of any other fiction writer. Their work is at the same level. They wrote so fast for so long that they packed in an incredible amount of learning, upped their base tempo, and can do everything others can do… just quicker.

Avallone has covered many genres under many pen names. These include Bronte Sisters-eque gothic romances, horny super-spy thrillers, men’s adventure, and even eight novelisations of the TV show The Partridge Family. But what caught my eye was his hard-boiled detective series with private eye Ed Noon. They were on Kindle Unlimited so I gave it a go.

Avallone Gothic Paperbacks

Call it a hunch, but I think Avallone’s writing had a theme….

I’ve read a lot of hard-boiled novels so, take my word for it, these are good. Not Chandler-good but they are at the same level as most of Hard Case Crime‘s books (which I also like). I’ve read four now and all of them whip along. The dialogue is fresh and cracks wise, the cadence is lean and street-smart, and the plots hang together without any deus ex-machina required. Avallone really found his footing in this genre.

The first in the thirty-book series is The Tall Dolores and it’s the weakest of the bunch, but I still enjoyed it. Noon is in his office when an amazonian blonde walks in and gives him sass. “Dolores was a hell of a lot more than tall. She was huge, statuesque. A Glamazon. A regular Empire State Building of female feminine dame. And all woman, besides.” Her boyfriend ran off with her $5,000 so she’s hiring Noon to find him and recover it. That boyfriend turned up dead – stabbed to death – on the steps of an NYC museum. Everything about the case smells rotten to Noon and he’s soon on the lam from the NYPD after Dolores sets him up for a chink murder in her hotel room.

I love hard-boiled dialogue. It’s so cheesy. I keep trying to remember all the one-liners to drop into my own conversation.

“Ed Noon – that you?”
“It’s the only name I’ll endorse a check with. What can I do for you?”
“Save the wisecracks, Noon. I’m too big to kid around with.”

Some of the descriptions are comically inventive as well. Try this on for size.

Dolores came around the bed with the speed of a big ape. She was still half undressed. I shook my head to clear it, brought my arms up to ward off what I saw in her eyes. It wasn’t nice as near as I could make out.
She descended on me like a tree full of the same apes she looked like. Something exploded against my jaw. Lightning struck twice and I was going down. My eyeballs blew up in a crash of pinwheel crazy colours.

Unlike his The Satan Sleuth books, the Ed Noon stories don’t have any padding. Quite the opposite, they are lean and extremely fast moving. There’s nothing in there that doesn’t advance the plot or build the characters. Avallone has a taste for the dramatic. This book has a circus-tall dame fighting it out in the Statue Of Liberty, book #2 has two twins scheming and plotting, #3 begins with a murder on third base in Yankees game, and #4 has one on Broadway. He likes spectacle in his murder cases, does Noon.

Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed The Tall Dolores and it was worth every penny I didn’t have to spend on it. I see myself working through all thirty Noon books over the next few years.

I’ve written a whole heap of great daygame books that you can peruse at your leisure here on my product summary page.

[1] No surprise gamma boys love him. He glorifies being an incel shut-in who rants on about being a superman while no-one reads your books.
[2] And a rumoured 200 not correctly sanctioned or recorded
[3] Fulton is mostly a low-level fighter but he did win a one-night World Vale Tudo 8-man bareknuckle tournament in Brazil.

One Comment

  1. What’s your opinion on Conor McGregor?
    Imo One trick pony, gone soft from the comfortable life. [He was always a better promoter than a fighter, but he’s genuinely world-class at MMA. The Khabib fight was close. Conor was ALMOST good enough at wrestling to hold him off. K.]

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