Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book Note: Dave Dickerson, Japanese Serial Killers: True Tales of 13 Notorious Murderers (2011)

With an interest in Japanese noir, I couldn’t resist a cheap eBook about Japanese serial killers. My instincts said it looked like a piece of self-published crap, but the price was only $2.99. Unsurprising moral of the story: Trust your instincts. Most of the write-ups in Japanese Serial Killers: True Tales of 13 Notorious Murderers read like underdeveloped Wikipedia entries. Favorite moment in the book: the sentence that ends [citation needed]. FOOTNOTE: Just got curious and checked . . . they are Wikipedia entries! Ha!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note (2003-2006)

Tsugumi Ohba, author of the Death Note story, admits that he is no good at keeping plots going. Therefore, every time he has an idea for a new plot point, he immediately sticks it in. The upside to this strategy is that it gives Death Note a real sense of unpredictability; the raggedly constructed narrative arc will frequently surprise you. The downside is that the plot eventually feels arbitrary, sort of like a season of 24. Heroes and villains come and go, and sometimes it does feel that the author has no purpose other than to keep the damn thing afloat till the end of his projected 108 chapters. Fortunately, most of the time the upside outweighs the downside. Favorite thing about the art: the hilarious reaction shots of the Japanese police force. Grade: B+

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pulp Poem of the Week

Burglary, I thought,
and the more I thought
the more I liked it.
It seemed somehow akin
to writing
you set your own hours,
you avoided human contact,
and, if you were successful,
you managed to touch the lives
of people you never even met.
Lawrence Block
Introduction to The Burglar Who Quoted Kipling

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pulp Poem of the Week

You couldn’t trust
anything she said,
colored as it was
with her personality.
Gil Brewer
The Hungry One

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pulp Poem of the Week

the safe,
the god,
embedded in the wall,
squat and somnolent,
with its triple lock,
its massive flanks,
its air of a brute divinity
Èmile Zola
The Kill (La Curée)
(translated by Brian Nelson)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pulp Poem of the Week

If I had anything
left to lose,
I couldn’t remember
what it was.
John D. MacDonald
The End of the Night