Monday, April 29, 2013

Pulp Poem of the Week

The guilt that separates
man from insects
is not wider than that which severs
the polluted from the chase
among women.

     Charles Brockden Brown
     Wieland; or The Transformation

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Donald E. Westlake, Jimmy the Kid (1974)

As brilliant as it is self-indulgent, the third Dortmunder novel will delight Westlake fans in general and Parker fans in particular. If you already know anything about 
Jimmy the Kid, then you already know too much. Read it before you learn more. Grade: A

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pulp Poem of the Week

it was one thing
to fill four pages
of stupid questions
with on-the-spot lies,
and another thing
to remember
all those lies
ten minutes later

          Richard Stark
          Butcher’s Moon

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pulp Poem of the Week

We weren’t—
and then we were.

     Elliott Chaze
     Black Wings Has My Angel

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: Donald E. Westlake, Bank Shot (1972)

In the second Dortmunder novel, Dortmunder steals a bank, and the results are consistently entertaining. The only real flaw in the developing Dortmunder formula is that Westlake has difficulty resisting broad comedy, as when Dortmunder and his crew are closed in the back of a truck with an insidiously bad smell, and will they vomit or won
t they? I imagine that I will keep reading the Dortmunder series until I reach the first fart joke. After that, I may have to stop. Grade: B

Pulp Poem of the Week

She climbed to her feet,
watching me warily and
trying to back away.
I said nothing, and
merely slapped at her again,
feeling a little sick at my stomach.
She was about eighteen.
But it had to be done.
This was the method
they’d left us.

     Charles Williams
     Talk of the Town

Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: James McKimmey, Cornered! (1960)

James McKimmey was in almost the right place at almost the right time to be counted as one the great writers of noir’s greatest decade, the 1950s. Had he published his first book with Gold Medal in 1951 (as opposed to first appearing with Dell in 1958), McKimmey would be mentioned along with the likes of Charles Williams and Gil Brewer as one of the era’s best, and more than one of his novels (1962’s Squeeze Play) would have come back into print by now. The upside to this, however, is that McKimmey’s OOP books are not exorbitantly expensive, given that they still fly below most readers’ radar. Cornered!, from 1960, is well worth seeking out. The plot centers around Ann Burley, an attractive young woman who provided eye-witness testimony in a California murder trial and since then has improvised her own less-than-ideal witness protection program in small-town middle America. The novel gets off to a fast start when a pair of hoods, who are getting close to finding her, believe that they have been spotted by law enforcement at a local gas station. Grade: B

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pulp Poem of the Week

Now that bust-line architecture
has become a basic industry,
like steel and heavy construction,
all the old pleasant conjectures
are a waste of time
and you never believe anything
till the lab reports are in.

     Charles Williams
     Girl Out Back