Monday, October 27, 2014

Pulp Poem of the Week

one good cop
is about as useful as
one good paper towel
in a hurricane

          Donald E. Westlake
          introduction to Charles Willeford’s
               The Way We Die Now


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Lawrence Block, The Sins of the Fathers (1976)

Fans of the Matthew Scudder series all seem to agree on two things: (1) You must read the books in publication order, and (2) It takes four or five novels for the series to get really, really good. So I obediently begin with the first novel in the series, and, not expecting anything great, I am not too disappointed. The limited cast of characters combined with the title The Sins of the Fathers leave little doubt where this novel is headed, and that’s where it heads. I’m trusting that later novels in the series (i.e., the ones that are supposed to be really, really good) will feature more Scudder and less Freud. Grade: C-

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pulp Poem of the Week

don’t trust anybody
over thirty
under thirty

          Donald E. Westlake
          “The Hardboiled Dicks”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pulp Poem of the Week

We all do the best we can, and
sometimes the best we can do is
make a mistake.

          Donald E. Westlake
          unfinished autobiography

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review: Donald E. Westlake, Thieves' Dozen (2004)

When you are done with the Dortmunder novels, you still have the Dortmunder short stories to read. Will you enjoy them? Of course. Would you trade them for one more novel? Of course. Grade: B-

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pulp Poem of the Week

She despised men
she could dominate,
but began to think
there was no other kind.

          Thomas Berger
          Sneaky People

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: Donald E. Westlake, Walking Around Money (2005)

Almost lost in a nether region between the Dortmunder novels and the Dortmunder story collection is the Dortmunder novella, Walking Around Money, which Ed McBain solicited for the first Transgressions collection. As is the case with the Dortmunder short stories, Walking Around Money seems to exist outside the narrative of Dortmunder’s career as chronicled by the full-length novels. The novella, featuring Dortmunder and his sidekick Andy Kelp, emphasizes Dortmunder’s competence above his bad luck, which is always welcome given how Dortmunder’s cursedness often obscures the fact that he is actually quite good at his job. Grade: B