Dream Town

David Baldacci


David Baldacci has been writing blockbuster novels for twenty years and most I would categorize as a subgenre of espionage--government corruption at the highest levels tackled by a one-time Washington insider. His most recent series, however, is a departure from that genre.  Featuring private eye Lew Archer, these books are written in the tradition of the hard-boiled detective novels which reached the hey-day of their popularity in the 1950s.  Famous practitioners of this style include writers like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.  Lew Archer was the creation of Ross MacDonald, one of the stars of the genre, who wrote 18 mysteries featuring Archer.   Baldacci's series could be considered "fan fiction" in that he takes MacDonald's character and writes new stories for him.  "Dream Town" is the third book of his Archer series, following "One Good Deed" and "A Gambling Man". It is set in 1953 in Hollywood, Tinsel Town," and is full of starlets and mobsters. This is a decent beach read but I prefer my Baldacci's peopled with spies and government plots. In all fairness, I might have enjoyed "Dream Town" more if I hadn't read so many great hard boiled PI books. There are other modern writers who do the tough guy detective better. (Robert Parker's Spenser novels come to mind and Robert Crais' Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series)