Friday, February 5, 2016

Jay Gertzman's Pulp According To David Goodis: OUT OF THE PAST

“OUT OF THE PAST”: A Epitome of the Mystic Femme Fatale
In Goodis’ novels, the men—both the protagonists and the powerful criminals-- have women in their lives that they obsess over. Even the most vicious forces of evil need them, such as Sharkey (Down There) and Hagan (Street of the Lost). Goodis’ waif-like females are not femmes fatales. But in a famous film, written by the man who also wrote the novel, the mystic power of the woman is taken to a level that might have something to do with Goodis’ work.
In Geoffrey Homes’ *Build My Gallows High* (1946; released the next year as the noir essential film *Out of the Past*), Jeff Bailey is an honest as well as tough P.I., chasing adulterers, blackmailers, embezzlers, and finance manipulators, who has retired from New York to run a gas station in rural California. He is dating a local woman, Ann, who is loving and fiercely loyal. But he cannot free himself from his past, especially a thieving, murdering, psychopathic femme fatale (Mumsie in the book; Kathie in the film) whom he first met on assignment from Whit (Guy in the novel), a version of Eddie Mars with a more varied wardrobe and a handshake like “iron.”
The passion of both Jeff and Whit for Mumsie/Kathie is ambiguous, in that it is more than recovery of money she stole, and more than her erotic promise. It has something to do with her amoral shrewdness, dominance with a gun, and uncomplicated acquisitiveness—all of which make her a prize as an accomplice. They assume she will be loyal; she has an uncanny ability, with her deadpan sultriness, to make a man believe he is the center of her world.
The screenplay, also written by Homes, makes Jeff’s choice of his personal “gallows” over the good girl more clearly a matter of the universe he came from—the city, with its challenges, illusions, seductions, and its belief in “the orgiastic future” of which Gatsby’s friends dreamed. The film, directed by Jacques Tourneur, reminds me—with its images of remote, wide-open spaces without people—of something else in _The Great Gatsby_, about “ that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” A novel and film about the American Dream. Noir--maybe best delineated in pulp.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mike Monson's A KILLER'S LOVE is like no other!

Mike Monson does it again!  A KILLER'S LOVE will leave you speechless and wanting more.
Mike Monson continues to deliver with ALL DUE RESPECT!

Lancaster Meissier is a psychopath's psychopath!  Combine Jim Thompson's Lou Ford and Richard Laymon's tales of human depravity and you get A KILLER'S LOVE.  

Lancaster Messier makes good money murdering rich women and converting all of their earthly possessions into cash. But, when he meets the sexy and alluring Carla, he makes a fundamental occupational mistake — he falls in love.

A Killer’s Love is an intense novella about the slippery nature of identity, and includes all the extreme sex, violence, and sick humor you’ve come to expect from Mike Monson.

It’s not a very long book. It’s a NOVELLA. But a lot happens all the time. There is no filler. None.

Here is the first chapter for all you literature lovers:
Chapter 1
Killing her was easy.
For Lancaster Messier, the killing was always the easy part. Want to kill a bitch? No problem. It’s just a couple simple steps. Get a real sharp knife, come up behind, pull her head back by the hair and then commit. Fully commit to making the perfect deep, long, ear-to-ear cut.
That’ll do it. Every time.
Next, drop Helen or Amber or Nadine or whoever the fuck, and walk away. Just let go. If you’ve done it right, if you’ve fully committed and employed the proper technique, by the time you’ve walked to the nearest sink and cleaned off your knife, the little cutie will either be slowly bleeding out, or dead already.
This is what Lancaster Messier had just done to Florence Hanratty. She never made a sound, which was satisfying because it gave Lancaster the sense that he’d done something right and good. Just because Lancaster was a psychopath didn’t mean he didn’t like to do the right thing—it just meant that maybe his ideas of what was best and right and good might be different from most humans’. He’d read all about what psychopaths or sociopaths were supposed to be like, and, sure, he could relate to a lot of the traits. And, yes, he didn’t mind killing another person, but it did bother him when they made a mess. He’d learned from years of practice how to pull the head back just right and make the cut at the right angle and depth to prevent blood spray. And, if he did it correctly, the death came quick, which avoided a lot a flaying around.
Or noise. He hated it when they grunted or gurgled.
The hard part was getting away clean, getting away with no chance of the body being found, no chance if it was found it’d be connected back to Lancaster. And, most importantly, the hardest thing of all—getting away with all the cash sucked out of the woman’s life with no trace that Lancaster Messier was the cause of the liquidation.
Florence didn’t have much, which was a drag. It was a lot of work to get someone’s trust, to get a woman to let you in on all her secrets (especially secrets concerning bank accounts and ATM card passwords), and he’d really thought she was good for way more when he managed to get himself invited into her house.
Two weeks earlier, he’d gotten access to both her ATM card and the password. She had fourteen thousand dollars in the bank, and he intermittently—hoping to keep the bank from getting suspicious—withdrew up to one thousand dollars per day, until he had almost ten grand. He also had her credit cards and the password to make a cash advance withdrawal of up to $2500 in each.
After slitting Florence’s throat and cleaning off and putting the razor-sharp Buck knife in his jeans’ pocket, he began loading up her Ford pickup with every valuable item in the house. The first couple of times he walked through with a load of gold and diamond jewelry, or a flat screen TV, or a laptop Apple computer, he’d check on Florence. The first two times, she seemed to be still breathing, which he was pretty sure meant she was slowly bleeding to death. Lancaster didn’t think this was such a bad way to die. He’d researched it and found out it was just like slowly falling to sleep—and never waking up. Before he’d developed his technique, he saw a lot of deaths that looked quite painful, especially if the poor fuck seemed to be drowning in his or her blood. (That’s right, he killed dudes too. All part of the killer-thief lifestyle.) When he went into the kitchen to get the china and the nice silverware, he checked again and she was finally dead, thank god.
He finished loading up the truck. He’d contacted a local fence named Chester Theodore with a detailed inventory, and they’d already agreed on a price. They were meeting on a country road nearby in about two hours. So Lancaster needed to work fast to make a clean exit.
He dragged the body out to the garage. Luckily, Florence’s dead husband, Dean, had had a great setup out there: workbench and power saws. In about thirty minutes, he had Flo in about fifty small pieces, all wrapped and duct-taped in black plastic garbage bags. These pieces went into the back of the truck as well.
Then the real work started. He’d often laughed to himself at how much he hated this part. The one time in his life he performed physical labor just like most straight people did all day long every day. He hated it. But it had to be done, because, like, who else was going to do it? Someone had to be the last person standing and that person had to clean shit up, right?
He’d bought all the necessary cleaning supplies. He donned plastic gloves and scrubbed all the blood from the floor where he’d killed her, and from everywhere it had leaked out of the body as he took it to the garage. He cleaned all the blood and other bits of body parts from the power tools and all over the garage. He cleaned up all his prints. He was a little OCD that way.
He collected all his possessions, anything that could be ID’d as his, and put them all into a trash bag. This wasn’t much, just a few pieces of clothes—an extra pair of pants, some t-shirts, four pairs of underwear, and two pairs of socks. This went into the truck as well. Then he went through the house one last time and vacuumed and scrubbed every square inch.
The house sat on ten acres in the Hill Country outside of Austin, Texas. More than a mile from neighbors on either side and he felt certain no one had noticed him there the last two months. He’d laid very low, and Florence didn’t have any close friends or relatives who came by or called—he’d made sure of that before he moved in.
He left with the valuables, the body parts, and his possessions, and drove to meet Chester Theodore.