Monday, October 27, 2008

Pulp Poem of the Week

She was as beautiful
as only a woman
made for dirt can be.
P. J. Wolfson
Bodies Are Dust

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pulp Poem of the Week

Money is no fun
to go to bed with.

Gardner F. Fox
Witness This Woman

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review: James McKimmey, The Perfect Victim (1958)

James McKimmey's debut centers around the murder of a young woman in a small town. Townsfolk adored the victim, Grace, as a sort of tramp-with-a-heart-of-gold, and they are predisposed to accept the circumstantial evidence that points to a stranger--traveling salesman Al Jackson--as her killer. Jackson is a two-dimensional character (dimension #1: he's lecherous; dimension #2: he's a drunk), and the residents of Willow Creek are mostly small-town clichés. The novel's most interesting character is Buggie Alstair, who is a fraternity brother of a local boy and also a budding psychopath. On the whole, The Perfect Victim is sort of a tepid cross between Jim Thompson and Our Town. Grade: C

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pulp Poem of the Week

She gave me a smile
in my hip pocket.
Raymond Chandler
Farewell, My Lovely

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pulp Poem of the Week

Guards knew when the blue devils had
seized the inmates of these cages.
They couldn't eat.
And there were times, too, when
even the guards couldn't eat.

Theodore Dreiser
An American Tragedy

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book Review: Ryu Murakami, In the Miso Soup (1997)

In the Miso Soup reminded me quite a bit of Gil Brewer's classic A Killer Is Loose (1954). Both books are narrated by an Ordinary Guy whose fate becomes entangled with that of a Roaming Homicidal Maniac. Both Brewer and Ryu Murkami invite readers to partcipate in Ordinary Guy's attempts to make sense of Roaming Homicidal Maniac, though in the case of Murakami, there is just as much time spent with Roaming Homicidal Maniac trying to make sense of himself. And this leads to my major complaint about In the Miso Soup: I have no problem in theory with books that become increasingly ponderous as they progress, but in this case that pondorousness comes at the expense of nearly everything else. The climax of the novel, such as it is, consists of Roaming Homicidal Maniac blathering on about his life story for 25 pages or so. And that's not much of a climax. Grade: C+