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Quinn Checks In - L.H. Thomson Some of my fellow Goodreaders quake when they plan to post a one-star review. I'm a meanie, and tend to dish those out with ease, whereas the opposite end of the scale tends to make me more nervous.

I suppose that just shows what a mean old grouch I am, to be stingy with my stars. Today I'm going to break out of the meanie mold and award four stars to a piece of fiction that didn't make me ponder about the meaning of the universe, but which I did find pretty entertaining.

Right from the start, one realizes that Quinn is not the kind of guy you want to meet in a fist fight. Unless he is on your side. He knows how to pack his punches, that is for sure.

The typical hard-boiled PI style which Thompson adopts, with a half tongue in cheek nod to the hard-boiled classics set me off on a quest. A quest to figure out how apt if would be for me to put Quinn in the 'hard-boiled' genre.


Definition of 'hard-boiled fiction', per Wikipedia: Hardboiled (or hard-boiled) fiction is a literary style, most commonly associated with crime fiction (especially detective stories), and distinguished by the unsentimental portrayal of violence and sometimes sex. The style was pioneered by Carroll John Daly in the mid-1920s, popularized by Dashiell Hammett over the course of the decade, and refined by Raymond Chandler beginning in the late 1930s.

...but despite his tall dark handsomeness and tough street-smarts, compared to Perry Mason, Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, and definitely compared to Mike Hammer, Quinn is a big ol' softie, a real person, not a cardboard cut-out. Quinn doesn't kill or maim, not even bad guys ...and to turn the shade even greyer, Quinn is an ex-con himself who stands with his feet planted on either side of the rails.

His father and brother are cops, and the other brother a preacher. ..and Quinn himself did some time for having been a naughty boy, and consequently has contacts in the underworld - which he uses to forward justice in an almost Leverage style twist. Quinn works on his own, but like many of the Leverage operators, he is now working FOR law and order.

Herein lies a lot of Quinn's charm. Unlike the PI heroes of the pulps, Quinn is a real person; a person with a grumpy set of parents whom he loves, a family that feels realistic, ..and well, where have you ever heard of a painter/artist before that is also a boxer and a street-smart PI? Truth is stranger than fiction, they say, but Thompson manages to make the Quinn character ring true. In fact, I loved the complex characterization and the shifting colors in this series debut.

I like that LH Thompson is saying that the bad guys aren't all bad, and the good guys aren't white beings with wings and shiny halo's. What I also like is that, mixed into all this greyness and de-construction of cliché 's, it is clear to the reader when Thompson is using a cliché as a cliché to good effect, - such as for instance "Vin The Shin," whom I thought was quite humorously drawn as a deliberate cliché, - and when he is actually throwing a cliché belly-up.

Here is a PI story that doesn't deal in death, that doesn't reflect just black-and-white, and that makes you wonder where the Quinn series is going to go. I for one, certainly plan to find out, and have booked a copy of the next Quinn already.

Oh, and not to mention: there's a little dash of romance as well, that keeps you wondering about how it will develop as the series continues.
Time will tell, but for now, I'm with Quinn.

{Oh, and in the name of full transparency, i want to mention that i befriended LH Thompson before i read any of his novels, after reading some of his blog posts and after reading some of his posts here on GR. I sent him the friend request, just because he seemed an interesting and intelligent person to chat with,- he did not solicit my friendship, neither did he solicit a review from me. Just so you know.}