Saturday, February 4, 2012

Quote of the Moment...Choke Hold - Christa Faust

'"He's puking," the kid cried from the back seat. "He's puking! Jesus fuck!" 
"Turn his head to the side," I said, flashing back to scraping a shitfaced and spewing Vic up off the sidewalk outside Gazarri's. "Don't let him choke." 
When the riceburner rear-ended me, I just about had a heartattack. The hit sounded louder than the shotgun and my forehead bounced off the steering wheel, scattering flaming pinwheels across my vision. I'm sure there were seatbelts somewhere in that old Buick, but I hadn't bothered to look before I peeled out of the diner lot. I would have tried to find one then, but my hands were locked, white-knuckled, around the wheel.'

Christa Faust grabs you by the wotsits and just keeps squeezing - Choke Hold from Hard Case Crime.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Everything I Tell You Is A Lie - Fingers Murphy...

I am extraordinarily busy for February. With S.O. in Tokyo for a month doing Very Arty Things with Very Arty People, I have to look after myself for a change. Between 8 hours of working, 2 hours of traveling, and 2 dogs who demand 2 walks plus 2 hours of attention each day, I have very little time for little luxuries such as eating. The washing up can wait until March and yes I am wearing the same clothes for the fourth day in a row. And?

Anyway, February posts will mostly be very short reviews of books I have absolutely loved recently, and first up is Everything I tell You Is A Lie, by Fingers Murphy.

This novella was a fantastic change of pace. I mean, I love hardboiled noir drama as much as the next guy, but Everything I Tell You... is something different. To start with it's one of the most intelligent things I've read recently. I don't mean other stuff around is dumb, or that the book is high-brow or pretentious. The protagonist is anything but, but this is the first thing I've read by Fingers and one of my first thoughts was: this writer is a smart guy. Not wanky, not showing off, just smart.

Second is the pace. It feels slow, as if the story is feeling its way. And I don't mean slow reading. One page rips to the next, and it's very hard to put down, but the story - presented as an interview with a prison psychologist and a series of reminiscences - takes its own time. There are no plot twists and turns purely for the sake of action, but everything happens naturally. The whole is beautifully constructed with a superb balance of surprise and that familiar noir feeling of inevitability. An aura of menace inhabits the whole.

One of the most original and interesting noirs I've read recently, and it certainly won't be the last Fingers Murphy book I read. And the writing... oh the words. At times, you can't help but feel that special shiver you get when a paragraph is EXACTLY right. I mean perfect. It's not showy writing, it just feels right.

In short: really, really, effing good noir. Highly recommended. Whatever you need: If you're a noir fan you should read this book.

I hunted down Fingers, and you can find more here.