Sunday, April 6, 2014
I have been reading a lot of old hard-boiled stories lately, mostly from the Black Mask school. A lot of them read like photocopies of Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op stories, some blurrier than others. It made this story stand out by contrast.
Brandon's hero is Horse Luvnik, just out of jail on burglary charges and feeling unhappy because his beloved wife has decided she doesn't want him back until he goes straight. And she has decided that going straight means buying a cigar store. How he is supposed to gather enough coin to do that is his problem. (I guess he can go straight after that.)
Things look bad but then Horse gets an invitation to Vermont. A gentleman scholar there named Dingle is working on what he hopes will be the definitive book on Edgar Allan Poe's first editions. The problem is that some of the information he needs is in the home of his hated rival, a woman who lives a few miles away. And since she refuses to share Dingle hires Horse to steal her notes every night -- and then smuggle them back into her house every morning.
As you can imagine, things quickly get silly. It is as if Damon Runyan and P.G.Wodehouse collaborated on a hard-boiled tale. The Continental Op might spin in his grave, but I enjoyed it.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Unusual story and I can't tell you too much about it without giving stuff away.
Gerald goes into a bar and starts a conversation with a woman, but he obviously has something other than romance on his mind.
I have said before that I am a sucker for stories in which the character has a chance at redemption, whether or not he takes it. In this case Gerald realizes the depth of his mistake and risks his life to fix things up.
Interesting characters, good action. Nice job.