Friday, December 21, 2018

Ken Bruen Delivers Like No Other In Time For Christmas

Marilyn Stasio Plays Bad Santa in This Holiday Crime Column

CreditPablo Amargo
CreditCreditPablo Amargo
By Marilyn Stasio

Ho-Ho-Ho, kiddies. Here comes Bad Santa with another gift sack filled with mysteries, crime stories and body parts. Ugh, what’s that gooey red stuff dripping out of Santa’s bag? Not to worry, just some melted candy canes. Now, on to this year’s rundown of the best Good Books for Bad Grown-Ups.
MOST ORIGINAL MURDER METHOD: For lashing a guy to his wheelchair, sealing his mouth with superglue and tossing him into a river, a Christmas angel goes to Ken Bruen’s IN THE GALWAY SILENCE (Mysterious Press, $26). Better double the angels, though, because there are two victims — twins, no less.
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Saturday, December 15, 2018


Image result for Pulp according to david goodis

     Move over, Geoffrey O’Brien and Robert Polito. 
“Pulp According to David Goodis”  (Down and Out Press, 2018) is Jay A. Gertzman’s herculean, 264-page analysis of  Philadelphia’s champion of the Noble Loser.  You know the movies and their rushing-toward-doom anti-heroes—Bogart in Dark Passage, Ray in Nightfall, Depardieu in  Moon in the Gutter, Aznavour in Shoot the Piano Player, Duryea in The Burglar. Gertzman assembles not just full-body strip searches of the author’s male and female characters, motivations and behavior, but intimate, block-by-block tours of the Philadelphia environs—today and in mid-20th century—in which Goodis set his bleak paperback originals.  

    It’s crime scene digging of the first order, footnoted clear to hell, and it delivers a whole new understanding of this odd duck who turned his back on big league Hollywood potential to return to his Philly childhood bedroom, Dock Street dives and a late life obsession with “grossly sensual" African-American women. There he’d write 11 more novels plus The Burglascreenplay in six years, dying in 1967 before turning 50.

    Jim Thompson was lionized by O’Brien as a Dimestore Dostevesky, and now Gertzman has built a convincing portrait of David Goodis as a Kraft-Ebbing Kafka.  Goodis and Kafka?   Don’t let Gertzman’s Ph.D. and academic credentials scare you off. This is the real deal by a Goodis pub-crawler who can write as clearly as he thinks, who gets that Goodis moved “unbendingly toward oblivion, if only to stop the whole business.”  —Kurt Brokaw 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Jay Gertzman's Three Stunning Opening Sentences from Three Masters

purchase Pulp According to David Goodis from Amazon:  

Below are opening paragraphs from 3 very different writers:
“I was an old man, but I died hard. It isn’t easy to die. Not even in your own bed. It’s a hell of a lot harder, writhing soundlessly in a fiery mist, seeing it coming and trying to yell until the heat gets to you for good. After that you still fight it, writing like a beetle, long after you don’t know any more.
It wasn’t easy to die that way, but I did, and laughed all the time….”
Goodis, “Never Too Old to Burn,” New Detective, 1949
“My first hit was a politician. Major League. I was 24, and felt a hundred. Not the cleanest job. Nearly cost me another contract. … My story travels. It has mileage. It exposes a lot of lies at the top of the tree. Lies that affect you and me. Lies that the people who govern us tell us, while they save their skins and burn our money.”
Richard Godwin, Confessions of a Hit Man, 2014
“You pick up a book and read about things and stuff, getting a vicarious kick from people and events that never happened. You’re doing it now, getting ready to fill in a normal life with the details of someone else’s experiences. Fun, isn’t it?  You read about life on the outside thinking of how maybe you’d like it to happen to you, or at least how you’d like to watch it. . . . Oh, it’s great to watch all right. Life through a keyhole.”
Mickey Spillane, My Gun Is Quick, 1950

Copyright © 2018 Jay Gertzman, All rights reserved.