Sunday, December 25, 2016

Clunker of the Day (Christmas Edition)

Kevin rubbed his hand across his scalp until his blond hair stood up like naked winter trees.

... Page 9. No matter how good this mystery/thriller might turn out to be, I just can't take it seriously after that B.S. Naked winter trees? Back to the library it goes ...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"The 2nd Deadly Sin" by Lawrence Sanders

Boone was raising his head in a drunk's delayed response, features changing comically to surprise, outrage. Delaney, swinging an arm from the shoulder, hit the sergeant across the face with an open palm. It smacked the man's head around, left him quivering, race reddening. 

"Cocksucker," Delaney said, without expression.

Delaney, a retired chief of detectives in NYC, and his subordinate Sgt. Boone, an alcoholic, are partners trying to solve a high-profile killing. Boone gets shit-faced drunk. Delaney goes to his home to set him straight. He does, and then some. Delaney is a bastard when he has to be, charming most other times, but always relentless in hunting the killer. Sanders does a masterful job of character development in his 1977 novel. I don't read many 443-page books, though I'd gladly read another by Sanders. A marvelous writer who knows his stuff -- cops, crooks and often fine line between them.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Whoops" by Nick Kolakowski in Shotgun Honey

Note to self, Ricky thought: The next time you need to make your mortgage payment, try to do it in a life-affirming and legal way, like getting a second job flipping burgers, instead of handing over fifty pounds of pot for a lunatic Russian to sell. Read story here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Campaign '16: An Atmosphere of Apocalyptic Fear

The Obama administration has done things people like me strongly disagree with. But America is in better economic shape than any other major nation on earth. Crime is down. Abortion rates are down. Fourteen million new jobs have been created in five years.

A conservative columnist wrote this in The New York Times. It's about the latest GOP presidential candidate's "atmosphere of apocalyptic fear."

It's not Trump. Does it matter at this point? Please ... pull your heads out of your respective asses, gentlemen.

Read it here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Best Short Story Writer in the Game Today

I turned back around to face her crotch—a tender triangle swollen and divided by the thick protuberance of her zipper fly, thick thighs pulling at the weave of red wool. A tiny key hung from a coiled loop of white telephone cord wrapped around her left wrist. She fingered the coils with long, chipped black nails. I had to marry her. If I couldn't, I would kill myself. I broke out in a sweat as though I was about to vomit.

Like Raymond Carver, but with a bit less restraint (and that's not a bad thing), Ottessa Moshfegh writes about relationships, losers and the commonplace with unparallelled vitality and unpredictability. There are no guns, murders or mayhem that typically drive the stories I read/write, and yet I don't miss them whatsoever. The mystery, the desperation, are in the story itself. The characters. Amazing.

In this first-person story, "Dancing in the Moonlight," in The Paris Review, Moshfegh writes as a man, and nails it.

Later that night, leaning against the crumbling, mildewed tile of the shower stall back home, I looked down at myself. I was beautiful, I thought. Legions of curious fingers should be reaching out to touch me. My arms were thick and strong. A spurt of wiry black hair rose from my wrist, trembling in the warm spray like a delicate morning tendril in the dew. There I was, spectacular and alive, and the whole world was missing it.

This story is only in the print edition, but read one of Moshfegh's previous stories in TPR, "The Weirdos," here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Burn" by Danny Jarrett in fringeLIT

She communicated with me only by asking questions, and by talking dirty to me. Read story here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Brenda's Kid" by Lindsay Hunter in Wigleaf

But also true was how often she considered harming her child, just a little. Taser gun. Mace. Roundhouse kick. Judo chop. Good old windmill. Tires crunching over toes. She had never done any of it, she had once lobbed a small decorative pumpkin at his head, but that was the extent. Read story here.