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Topic: Help - Need advice on levels of violence in Ludlum & PD James

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Subject: Help - Need advice on levels of violence in Ludlum & PD James
Date Posted: 3/31/2011 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2010
Posts: 284
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Hi all,

I am working with Prisoners to whom we bring english language books, and my staff have very particular rules about what the books can contain. There are not to be any rapes, nor other graphic brutality. Cozy murders are mostly ok, but not Police Procedurals. I have found Liz Cody's wrestler series unacceptable, as is Thomas Harris, and Laurie King (for intensity.) Some of our "clients" are in for drugs or fraud, but the prisons don't want us giving them violent stuff either.

The *only* PD James I ever read was a very graphic novel about a child molester, so I figured her stuff erred on the side of too much, but others seem to think the Adam Dalgliesh are ok.

I've got two books here I need some opinions on: The Private Patient (James) and a Robert Ludlum collection (Scarlatti Inheritance, Osterman Weekend, Matlock Paper, and Gemini Contendors)

Can any of you who have read these advise if they should be considered "off limits" to prisoners?


thank you!



Date Posted: 3/31/2011 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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Given that these kinds of rules are very particular,  you'd probably be better off asking the staff or others in a position to know those rules....I mean, I would not consider James violent at all, but I have seen lists of books banned in prisons, and the official ideas of acceptable violence seems really different, much much stricter,  than what most "outsiders" would think.

Last Edited on: 3/31/11 1:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/31/2011 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2010
Posts: 284
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Actually, the staff aren't sure. They don't read English, they read German. Since the books go to prisons all over, each one has their own rules. The staff know which ones will absolutely NOT get in, and I'm culling (and posting) those. We weren't sure about these, so I was hoping to find out from someone who had read them, or was really familiar with the author's other work.

Date Posted: 3/31/2011 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 762
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I've read plenty of Ludlum, and they could be considered graphic for what they want (meaning lots of shootouts and blood).  I read the first Dagliesh book, and while I don't think it was truly graphic, it was a murder mystery.  I'm working my way through the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters, and while they are murder mysteries, they are written with lots of humor, and the murders aren't very violent.  Just a thought.

Date Posted: 3/31/2011 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I would think that PD James' Adam Dalgliesh series would be fine. They are, technically, police novels, but they are so old that they bear no relevance to today's police procedures/forensics, etc. Yes, there is a murder (at least one) in each, but I haven't found any of those I've read to be graphic--very subdued and cerebral as mysteries go.


Date Posted: 4/1/2011 3:20 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2010
Posts: 284
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Thanks guys! I'm mostly needing to avoid graphic descriptions of things that will raise the aggression levels, so it sounds like the Dalgliesh are ok; I'll keep asking about the Ludlums...



Subject: Suggestions
Date Posted: 4/9/2011 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2009
Posts: 72
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The stand-alone books by Ludlum, Andrew Greeley, Jack Higgins, Tom Clancy.  I don't recall Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt series being too graphic.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 4/9/2011 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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Based on your descriptions of what's allowed, I would think all Ludlums are too violent, except for "The Road to Gandolfo". That one's very different from his other works. His books are the basis for the "Bourne Identity" movies, so if you've seen trailers for those, you will get the idea of the type of action there is in the books. They're all pretty similar, except for Gandolfo.

I'm surprised Laurie R. King is too intense. Is that her Kate Martinelli series that they don't want? I would think her Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes series would be o.k.

With P.D. James, I haven't read the more recent Dalgliesh books, but the earlier ones usually involved him investigating a crime that occurred "off stage". While the crime itself might have been very violent, the investigation wasn't.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 4/9/2011 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I've read all the Ludlum books you mentioned and I considered them in the thriller category.  From what you've said they might be considered to intense.  Yes, they are from the era during the Cold War but I'm thinking they might give someone some ideas.  When I think of them there might be a bit of terrorism in them.  It seems I remember kidnappings among other things.  It's been quite a while since I've read them.

Date Posted: 4/9/2011 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2010
Posts: 284
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Thanks everybody. Mary, the Laurie King Holmes books are fine, but I read a wonderful book of hers The Dark Place (unless there's another Laurie King?) that was really, really intense.

It sounds like the Ludlums could go either way, so we'll just be careful which prisoners we give them too. My biggest concern is graphic violence and violence connected to sex. e.g. I would not do Anne Rice, nor (although I haven't read them, and could be wrong) Patricial Cornwell.

Thanks so much; and if you can keep making recommendations, I'll keep collecting!