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Fan of JHC

This web site is dedicated to James Hadley Chase as more enthusiastically as I have spent hundreds of splendid hours reading and reading again his thrillers. These web pages provide some useful information, the books presentations I have found on the covers, some comments from paper men and some extracts I have chosen ; I will add some more of them.

Fan of James Hadley Chase I have collected his books and I think I have nearly all of them. As a "pale" reader of thrillers I don't pretend to be an art critic, but maybe you will share my feelings about this author.

Not gifted to learn foreign languages, a sour handicap in my job, one day I decided to become fluent in English. Twenty years after the result isn't very convincing.
James Hadley Chase is not to blame ! On the contrary, because of him, at least I manage to read English as fast as French, my mother tongue.
I don't know about all foreign translations, but the French ones are often very disappointing : some bad post-war slang, now obsolete (*), or even childish expressions very far from the highly efficient original text. The JHC magic happens to be spoiled and the result is sometimes very poor. So I prefer to read JHC in English.

(*) Of course, since the very beginning, JHC was influenced by American thrillers, from time to time he has picked some American slang words which maybe aren't up to date nowadays... but I am afraid not to be such a specialist of American slang.

Nevertheless those vocabulary details aren't the main concern of JHC fans. I insist for the foreigners : read JHC in English ! it will be all the easier for you as JHC English isn't so difficult to read. That's the result of his skill at portraying characters, of his "Cartesian" logic, and of his strong priority for action.

JHC has a born talent for observing people and, in his books, he has chosen some characters more real than true people. Never using detailed descriptions, he scarcely uses some words about the shape of a chin, the shabbiness of a suit... a short dialogue to settle things, then, without any visible work, his hero is definitively painted and anchored in the reader memory. There is really something magic about this !

Strongly featured all his characters are always coherent and consistent, they act and react with an unbreakable logic.
That's very satisfying for the reader because they do exactly what you are expecting of them : killers kill, heavy drinkers drink... the credibility never falls.
That's very gripping because, all along the plot, the characters perform a lot of things with an amazing energy and vitality. Thrown on their trajectory they fulfil their mission or they play their part very efficiently : imagining new solutions, finding ways out, using all the means at their disposal.
However their fate catches up with them, because of a mistake in the past, because of their greed, because of one lethal woman... The trap shrinks !
As a sales talk the thriller is built like a funnel, its pace is speeding up and it reaches inexorably its conclusion.

Cleverly built the plot is very ingenious and JHC multiplies unexpected twins and turns. Try to find any narrative page among his 89 thrillers !
I didn't take any precise statistics but browse some pages and you will observe that dialogues fill about two thirds of the text (and make it so alive). In the remaining third you keep staying in full action, in the shoes of a character who acts, thinks and reacts...

Take off for Indochina with Steve Jaffe (A lotus for Miss Quon) : for sure you won't find any narrative description about rice fields, about the streets of Saigon or the Vietnamese cooking, there isn't any, but don't worry, if you intend to travel you are going to !

you can contact me at : psoula@free.fr

Under construction :

  • I will improve the Biography page on special angles, I need to dig a little more and get more photos of James. At the moment you can browse the web on this matter with my page of links.

  • Bibliography and summaries pages are going to be replaced by a database which will provide for each book, titles, covers scans, introduction texts, comments, reviews, editors, ISBN numbers, dates of prints, foreign translations titles...

Images :

the images of covers displayed on my pages don't belong to me. I spend some time to clean and arrange my scans but I'm not the designer or the photograph, nor the printer who made the covers. I just hope you like them... and you're going to get soon plenty other ones.

If you have an old cover designed by Barbara Walton, Brabbins, J. Pollack, Paul Anna Soik, Erickson, Taylor, Val Biro... please send me a nice scan... Especially the ones above from which I dream to get a good scan.

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