Showing posts with label 2001. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2001. Show all posts

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celtic Noir, by Paul BIshop

"Celtic Noir," by Paul Bishop, in Running Wylde. 2012.

This story was originally published in Murder Most Celtic, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, in 2001.  I caught up with it in Bishop's e-collection of stories.

Meet Decco, an Irish fella with a bad attitude...

You might think I'm stupid.  I ain't.  I done loads of them Open university courses on the telly.  I ain't stupid. i just ain't like you, and i don't want to be.

I hate effin squares like you - sitting there on your arse reading books.  you're boring.  i hate boring.  Get up, get out, smash somebody's face in.  that's what it's all about - a little aggro makes the world go round.

As the story opens a couple of thugs are attempting to round up Decco for a little meeting of the minds with a crime boss named Mandrake.  Mandrake's daughter has gone missing and he decided Decco is just the lad to get her back.  Before our hero can get started a tough female cop scoops him up.  She also wants him to find the daughter, but with a different goal.  Then there is a rival gang of bad guys with their own plans...

Good story with an action-packed ending.

A couple of notes.  I am no expert on how the Irish speak - the works of Roddy Doyle and Ken Bruen constitute my main first-hand experience - but there is a slight touch of the begorrah-it's-a-leprechan to Decco's prose stylings, as far as I am concerned.  Didn't spoil it for me.

More problematic is the e-book itself.  There are many styles of e-book production but this may be the sorriest I've run across.  No page numbers, no table of contents, no way to get from the beginning to a particular story except by hitting the screen over and over and over....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Teed Off, by Mark Troy

"Teed Off," by Mark Troy, in Game Face.

This ebook was available for free.   It is a collection of stories about Val Lyons, a Hawaii-based private eye.

Glenn Floeck moved down Concourse C of Honolulu International Airport as if he expected everyone to get out of his way.

This first sentence tells us a good deal about Mr. Floeck, doesn't it?  Val has signed on as personal driver for this obnoxious golf millionaire who is actually a lousy golfer and a worse human being.  we will discover she has an ulterior motive for tolerating his crude advances.  She is working on behalf of a client whose sister got a restraining order against Flock, not long before falling of a hotel balcony to her death.  Interesting protagonist, good story.

By the way, it first appeared in Fedora, edited by Michael Bracken.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reason to Believe, by Mat Coward

"Reason to Believe" by Mat Coward, in Death By Horoscope, edited by Anne Perry, Carroll and Graf, 2001.

Ran across this 2001 collection at the library and it had a lot of good authors (Block, Rusch, Lovesey, etc.) so I thought I'd give it a try. Some of the stories assume astrology is real, some assume it is bogus. I, a definite bogus-er, enjoyed some of each, but this was the stand-out.

In a funny story, what exactly is funny? It could be the language. It could be the narration (not quite the same as the language.) It could be situation. It could be character.

I think one of the reason so many of Donald E. Westlake's books were made into bad movies was that a lot of his humor is in the narration, and that doesn't carry over onto the screen at all. And speaking of language, I remember Stephen Fry complaining when he portrayed P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves that the first time Jeeves appears in the books, he "shimmered" in. How exactly was Fry supposed to "shimmer in?"

The humor in this story is mostly character-based. Specifically it revolves around our hero, DS Harry Peacock of the Metropolitan Police. Harry has a somewhat eccentric view of the world and conducts an ongoing conversation with himself that cheerfully overflows in ways that baffle his companions and delight the reader.

Peacock is no fool so when he is talking to his boss his rebellious thoughts stay inside.

"OK. You all right to run with this for a little longer?"

Harry wondered what would happen if he said that, in fact, non, he wasn't OK to run with this, that, in fact, he rather thought he'd spend the rest of the day swmming in the lido. It WAS a hot day. He wouldn't mind a swim.

"Yes sir," said Harry.

Later someone threatens to report him to his superiors and Harry replies: "I have no superiors... They're small men with mustaches."

The story has a plot. Did I mention that? A man who doesn't believe in astrology has been regularly meeting with an astrologer and now he has disappeared. Harry has a strong suspicion as to what has happened and eventually he proves it. But along the way we get conversation like this one with the horoscope scribbler.

"Astrology is not as hot as it was when I started up. The public is fickle."

Harry gave a sympathetic nod. "Those feng shui bastards, eh? Coming over here and stealing our jobs."