Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

by Daniel Depp

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 01, 2009 7:45 am

From the Craig Wilson Interview in USA Today:

Says Simon & Schuster publisher David Rosenthal.

"It's very noir. It's nasty and fast-paced. And none of it goes where you expect it to go. The book transcends a lot of the normal conventions of the detective genre."

After reading the tidbit on the History of the Detective Novel, where do you see Loser’s Town fitting into the genre?

Click below for a link to the tidbit:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby shadowydog » Fri May 01, 2009 11:58 am

Wow. That is a challenge. :perplexed: In a large sense, he doesn't fit in anywhere. This is not a whodunit in the traditional sense; there are no clues to discover or a crime to solve. Rather there is a blackmail plot to foil. In another sense, Spandau fits into the hardboiled detective mold even if he is vulnerable and soft.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby deppaura » Fri May 01, 2009 1:01 pm

I'm not a reader of detective/mystery books. Really enjoy PBS British based mystery/detective shows, i.e., Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie. Daniel seemed quite enthused about The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. On his recommendation I might give that one a go. If I remember correctly when asked why he chose the mystery/noir genre, Daniel likened it to the next best thing to stand up comedy??? I don't feel like hunting down that quote. Someone can enlighten me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby ladylinn » Fri May 01, 2009 2:00 pm

This is a tough question - I have not read alot of detective stories either deppaura. I kept looking for clues when reading LT - but found out by the ending that I had missed an important item. :blush:
the roll of film
I had to go back and re-read. I thought I was reading slower than usual, but sure did miss it.
Spandau does fit the detective mold to my way of thinking. Layed back and cool and softspoken and humorus (remember that Robert Mitchem comparison). Who says that Daniel's Loser's Town has to fit into the genre. That is sort of a trait that can be said about both of the Depp boys!!!!

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 01, 2009 2:06 pm

deppaura, that particular quote will be a question during the discussion soon so we will enlighten you then. :ohyes:

shadowdydog and ladylinn, if I had to choose (which I guess I do :lol: ) I would say it is of the hard-boiled school but without many of the traditional whodunnit factors.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby deppaura » Fri May 01, 2009 4:15 pm

Thanks dithot, I did find the quote, but will save it for next time. Pretty wonderful if Daniel has created a unique writing style. Will generate lots of readers and establish his talent. I think his dark humor is particularly attractive.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby trygirl » Fri May 01, 2009 5:15 pm

I think Loser's Town is a second generation novel. This book follows a tradition created by gumshoe writers of the 1950's and 1960's. Tales with violence, lust and psychology. Characters of the golden era are no more, but in their place, hard-boiled, tough guys with layers. Protagonists struggling with inner demons and not their guns. We also get the Watson type friend in Terry McGuinn though with a twist. The Irishman is hardly stupid, yet he expresses his thoughts and feelings more than Spandau which keeps to genre code.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 01, 2009 8:45 pm

deppaura, the detective novel has evolved over the years and branched out to include evolving forms. Perhaps we are seeing part of a new evolution. It felt like there was more dialogue driving the action rather than action sequences?

trygirl, I like your Watson analogy! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby fansmom » Fri May 01, 2009 9:43 pm

I read a lot of detective novels, and I'd argue that Loser's Town is fairly typical of the genre.

I can name three other authors writing detective series set in contemporary LA. Each author needs a twist--those LA mysteries feature an Orthodox Jew as a detective; a child psychologist; and a demon-ridden Vietnam vet bent on reducing the amount of evil in the world. A stuntman/detective is not that unusual. Depp's insight into Hollywood is a plus, but the authors of other books have similar insights. Dick Francis was a jockey before beginning a series of racing themed mysteries. Elizabeth Peters earned a PhD in Egyptology before writing her Amelia Peabody mysteries.

Many current detective novels start with a crime, and go on with clues that the reader can follow, but not all. The subgenre known as cozies are puzzles with clues, but noir/hardboiled mysteries aren't. Some of the best mysteries are psychological whydunits rather than whodunits. Go read the first sentence of Ruth Rendell's A Judgement in Stone if you're not familiar with the psychological suspense type of mystery.

Because most current detective novels are parts of series, the author can take time to develop his characters over time. I'm looking forward to that happening with Spandau.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby gemini » Fri May 01, 2009 10:29 pm

Ronald Knox 's "Ten Commandments" seemed rather silly to me. Maybe that is why detective novels usually don't appeal to me. Loser's town seemed more like a story about Hollywood than a detective story.. Spandau is a detective but somehow seemed more of a protector or bodyguard than a sleuth. I might not be in the habit of looking for clues so that may explain why I didn't see any. I saw more of a story about how people live their lives on both sides of the tracks. The story used morals, as the divide between the hero and villain but unhappiness seemed prevalent on both sides. I may be incorrect but I always thought a good detective story showed that good and truth will win out in the end like Sherlock Holmes but that didn't even seem to be the case in losers town. I guess trygirl sums it up best with "Protagonists struggling with inner demons and not their guns".. I can see that its is a contemporary story but where was the mystery, clues, and solved crime? I guess I think Danny has a whole style of his own.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 02, 2009 12:16 am

Mysteries are not my forte. I rarely read them. But it is not because I wouldn’t want to. Who knows what I would read if I had no required reading (probably a variety—mysteries included). My reading is dictated by my 2 book clubs. My life is too busy, and I don’t read fast enough to read anything I fancy (unless it’s an audiobook). That aside, my point is that I don’t really know enough about mysteries or detective novels (because my book clubs rarely chooses them) to be able to comment. I can only go by DITHOT’s tidbit. Sooooo…

I think Spandau is somewhere in between the hardboiled and the soft…..because I really think he is a softie, deep down. I think he fits the stereotype of the hardboiled detective in terms of his integrity and his masculinity. But he is soft in a lot of ways—how he feels about his ex-wife and how he felt about the outcome of certain people in the book.



gemini wrote:Loser's town seemed more like a story about Hollywood than a detective story.. Spandau is a detective but somehow seemed more of a protector or bodyguard than a sleuth. I might not be in the habit of looking for clues so that may explain why I didn't see any. I saw more of a story about how people live their lives on both sides of the tracks. The story used morals, as the divide between the hero and villain but unhappiness seemed prevalent on both sides.

Gemini, I could have written this myself. But like I said above, I’m not exactly a mystery novel aficionado. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize that it didn’t fit the usual “who done it” until I got to the end and realized exactly what the mystery was. (don’t go there, ladies—we’ll discuss the end towards the end). I was just into the story about the characters. But I think this is a good thing. I don’t think there has to be a formula. In fact, I think it is more interesting without one. I like that Daniel did his own thing. You know how the saying goes….”It’s good to be different”.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 02, 2009 9:37 am

Last year my community participated in the Big Read, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts; the book chosen was the Maltese Falcon. I did not participate in any of the activities, but I did pick up my free book and read it. I saw a lot of similarities with Spandau and the large cast of characters and the very fast pace of the story. At least with LT I was able to follow most of what was going on, I got completely lost in the Maltese Falcon and had no clue of guessing the mystery. That pretty much sums up my entire detective story experience. :dunce: I think Daniel's book is in the genre but I don't think he followed a set formula.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby shadowydog » Sat May 02, 2009 11:44 am

Liz wrote:Mysteries are not my forte. I rarely read them. But it is not because I wouldn’t want to. Who knows what I would read if I had no required reading (probably a variety—mysteries included). My reading is dictated by my 2 book clubs. My life is too busy, and I don’t read fast enough to read anything I fancy (unless it’s an audiobook). That aside, my point is that I don’t really know enough about mysteries or detective novels (because my book clubs rarely chooses them) to be able to comment. I can only go by DITHOT’s tidbit. Sooooo…

I think Spandau is somewhere in between the hardboiled and the soft…..because I really think he is a softie, deep down. I think he fits the stereotype of the hardboiled detective in terms of his integrity and his masculinity. But he is soft in a lot of ways—how he feels about his ex-wife and how he felt about the outcome of certain people in the book.



gemini wrote:Loser's town seemed more like a story about Hollywood than a detective story.. Spandau is a detective but somehow seemed more of a protector or bodyguard than a sleuth. I might not be in the habit of looking for clues so that may explain why I didn't see any. I saw more of a story about how people live their lives on both sides of the tracks. The story used morals, as the divide between the hero and villain but unhappiness seemed prevalent on both sides.

Gemini, I could have written this myself. But like I said above, I’m not exactly a mystery novel aficionado. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize that it didn’t fit the usual “who done it” until I got to the end and realized exactly what the mystery was. (don’t go there, ladies—we’ll discuss the end towards the end). I was just into the story about the characters. But I think this is a good thing. I don’t think there has to be a formula. In fact, I think it is more interesting without one. I like that Daniel did his own thing. You know how the saying goes….”It’s good to be different”.


I agree with both of you. There really wasn't a mystery in the sense of Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby deppaura » Sat May 02, 2009 1:02 pm

The mystery to me, is what happened to one of the primary characters??? I hope this isn't considered a spoiler..no names mentioned. Maybe this is all tied up in Daniel Depp himself. Looking for a genre for self expression, recognition and to deliver his message. Somehow I think his sardonic humor is at the bottom of that choice. Loving the comments from those of you with strong literary experience. A real education.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #17 ~ The Detective Genre

Unread postby fansmom » Sat May 02, 2009 6:05 pm

shadowydog wrote:I agree with both of you. There really wasn't a mystery in the sense of Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes.
You're right--it's not like a mystery from 80 or 120 years ago. But neither are most of today's mysteries.


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