Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb 2011 Monthly Reads

The Dame by Richard Stark

The second of the four Grofield novels find’s our buddy Al looking into an island job that could make him some cash. He’s not impressed with the initial set up, but finds himself caught up in it all anyway. It’s a quick, swift, who-done-it…. That is a Stark, but maybe not the more iconic of the bunch… and after reading Dead Skip last month, where Stark is named and Parker makes and appearance I am looking forward to Black Ice Score and getting back to Parker’s adventures. That said I know that Lemon’s Never Lie, the final of the Grofield books is coming up, and I have read and enjoyed that one.

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn

I kept running to this memoir about the author having encountered his MIA father as a client of the homeless shelter the author was working in. I fooled around with the book for a while and then gave up, I like the title I like the short chapters, I like the choppy narrative, but it just couldn’t sustain the energy for me.

Stark House Press book of the month:

It's Always Four O’clock by W. R. BURNETT

Dig it Daddy-O

Dig it loud and live

The big beat from the coast,

Jazz Bo, jive tale of… hell,

This is it, the Noir Jazz tale you have been waiting for, it’s a classic. The bare bones of the pop music story, kids with talent, things start to get going and then it’s every man for himself. What carries the story is the vibe of the thing, the language, the evocation of the time, place and world at the start of Pop TV fame. It really needs it’s own soundtrack, it needs a Tom Waits a Stan Ridgway or even a Kevn Kenny to read it aloud for your to really get the drift. That Burnett is largely out of print is a crime, his fluid prose are cinematic, dramatic and have the right jazz tempo. Check it out.

Lawrence Block book of the Month: Burglar in the Closet

Another winning entry in the Burglar series, this time around Bernie gets caught up in a murder that occurs while he locked in the victim’s closet hence, the title. It’s not that he was on the Hot Prowl, she came home earlier and Bernie get’s to hear her murder, and after some time, he has to figure out who did it to keep it from getting pinned on him.

Double Indemnity by James M Cain

I had never read a Cain before this, I was aware of course of the great film based on the book, and had just watched it again and figured that I should check out the book. It’s short it’s more of a novella than a full-blown novel. Having seen the film, I am stuck with the improvements of the film over the book, mostly the addition of the snappy Chandler dialog and the cinematic changes of things like last names, clothing choices and even the streamlining of the story. All this is not to say that the book is a shabby read, it is a great noir that can be knocked off in a couple of hours and is well worth checking out.

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