Daniel sees Marlowe in Spandau but doesn’t see the comparison with Get Shorty because Spandau looks at Hollywood from an insider perspective, which is not the case with the characters in Get Shorty (per book signing in San Jose). At the book signing Daniel said that he viewed Spandau as an update of Philip Marlow in the sense that Spandau is a moral character. Marlow, like Spandau, “is a guy with a heart who goes out there and does the job he has to do—does the right thing even though he realizes that he’s probably going to get clobbered for it. He’s not going to change the world; but he does it because it is the right and correct thing to do.”
suec wrote: a good way to think of Spandau is to compare him with Marlowe. I'll give it a go working from memory.
At one point, Annie thinks to herself that Spandau is like Robert Mitchum. Personally, I interpret that to be one of a number of nods to the character of Marlowe, as Mitchum played him. I think there are some similarities but also some key differences. The sassy, hardboiled dialogue is very Marlowe. Where Spandau is the cowboy, Marlowe is the knight and is presented that way. He is chivalrous and protective of the weak. Loyalty to the client is there also, although Marlowe will demonstrate that in his own way. He does a lot his own way. He has his moral code and lives by it, although he also does a bit of ducking and weaving. I would say he is much more at home in the city than Spandau. He is much more successful, I think. He gets knocked out or drugged up or something, or saddened by something, but essentially he's a survivor: (even) more self-sufficient, much more hardboiled as a character than Spandau is, who's been around a bit (a lot, then), but who is still vulnerable and a loser.
A harsh way of putting it perhaps, but in this book that's how I think of Spandau. Personally, I think this book is darker in mood than the Chandler books I have read although they cover a lot of similar ground.
How do you think they compare?
Do you see any similarities between Daniel’s novel and any of your favorite detective novels?