Week 7 on the Crime Fiction Alphabet
2013 tour, hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise
and it's the turn of the G's.
Green, Garcia, Gischler
.......... 3 enjoyed!
Norman Green – Shooting Dr. Jack
I can’t recall how I discovered this book sometime back in
the mid-2000’s, but I’m glad I did. I absolutely loved this and once done with
it set about acquiring copies of everything else he had written. Needless to
say I haven’t read any of these subsequent books – shame on me!
It takes considerable skill to craft a gripping novel approaching 300
pages in which nothing much happens during the first 150. Fortunately for the
readers of Norman Green's first book, Shooting Dr. Jack, Green's got the
knack, in spades. His characters aren't drawn, they're acid-etched. His
landscape, seamlessly rendered, is a grey, emotionless void:
Fall through the cracks of a better and kinder
world, and you find yourself on Troutman Street. Dreams of a new world die in
her sweatshops, cars and trucks die in her chop shops and junkyards, children
die in her vacant lots, shooting one another for the right to sell crack on the
two or three big intersections, junkies die wherever they happen to be when
they shoot up--hallways, alleys, parking lots.
Tommy Rosselli, a.k.a. Fat Tommy, a.k.a. Tommy Bagadonuts, is a relatively
brilliant entrepreneur who, while largely operating beyond the law, nonetheless
owns a good and honest heart. Stoney, Tommy's brutal partner in a shady
Brooklyn junkyard, is a smoldering alcoholic struggling to bring his body,
soul, wife, and kids into some approximation of normalcy. And 18-year-old Eddie
Tuco, an illiterate "Nuyorican" who works for Tommy and Stoney, faces
temptation, redemption, and loss as a result.
Tommy and Stoney need to find out who left two dead teenagers in the junkyard,
who killed their accountant, who ambushed Tommy in his apartment, who's been
shadowing their employees, and why. Tuco does too, but he's got some demons to
wrestle and scores to settle on his own. Rounding out this vision of
desperation are the eponymous Dr. Jack--the name of both a drug and its dealer,
which affect their users as Dr. Kevorkian affects his patients--and the
junkyard's blighted Troutman Street landscape itself.
Not a mystery in the truest sense and not a thriller by most standards, Shooting
Dr. Jack is both of those things and more. It's intelligent, it grabs like
a vice in due course, and its dialogue and narrative resonate with urban grit
and truth. --Michael Hudson
Victor Gischler – Gun
Gischler’s first book which I loved. I’m spoilt for choice
with him because I could so easily have recommended, Pistol Poets, Suicide
Squeeze, Shotgun Opera or Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse. I’ve missed out on his
last few books, and if I had limitless time and money I’d remedy that situation.
Charlie Swift just
pumped three .38-caliber bullets into a dead polar bear in his taxidermist
girlfriend's garage. But he's a gun monkey, and no one can blame him for having
an itchy trigger finger. Ever since he drove down the Florida Turnpike with a
headless body in the trunk of a Chrysler, then took down four cops, Charlie's
been running hard through the sprawling sleaze of central Florida. And to make
matters worse, he's holding on to some crooked paperwork that a lot of people
would like to take off his hands. Now, with his boss disappeared and his
friends dropping like flies, Charlie has got his work cut out just to survive.
If he wants to keep the money and get the girl too, he's really going to have
to go ape...
Nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Gun
Monkeys is a fast,
furious collage of wit and wise guys, violence and thrills—and a full-throttle
run through the dark side of the Sunshine State.
Eric Garcia –
I loved the book, I loved the film. I found it terribly sad,
but enjoyed it in spite of that, or maybe because of it. Read it or watch it!
"After the first
of Eric Garcia's Rex books, I found
myself thinking, ‘I wonder what he's up to now.' After Matchstick
Men, a lot of other
people will begin wondering, too."—Thomas Perry, author of Pursuit
Roy and Frankie are matchstick men—con artists. Partners in elegant crimes for
years, they know each other like brothers and have perfected the rules of the
Roy is the careful one. Saves every penny. Takes his medication regularly.
Without the pills, his obsessive-compulsive disorder kicks in and he is too
nauseated to do anything but stare at the dirt on the carpet.
Frankie is the adventurous one, hungry for a big score. He wants Roy to join
him in running a tricky game, but Roy is distracted—for good reason. Roy has
just discovered that he is the father of a punky teenage daughter from a brief
marriage that ended years ago. Much to the frustration of Roy's partner, the
kid wants to get to know her father. She also wants to learn the family
Novelist Eric Garcia takes readers into the fast and funny world of grifters
with issues. Matchstick Men is a dazzling literary con game that will
keep readers guessing until the last page.
matchstick men (mach•stik men) n. pl. 1. simply drawn characters, meant
to represent the human form 2. tavern betting game, invented circa 1920 3. con
artists or grifters, those who steal via wit, trickery, or confusion 4. a mob
of people, easily enraged 5. a deviously suspenseful and surprising novel by
Eric Garcia, acclaimed cult author of Anonymous Rex 6. a major motion picture, directed
by Ridley Scott, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell, coming in 2003 from
Grafton, Goodis, Gardner..........3 unread,
Sue Grafton – A Is For
In an effort to read more that has been written by the female
of the species, I tracked this down recently after reading a mention of the
author on another blog. Only unread for a matter of weeks, not even had the chance to get dusty!
featuring wise-cracking female private investigator, Kinsey Millhone. When
Nikki comes out of jail after serving a sentence for murdering her husband, she
calls in Kinsey Millhone to track down the real killer.
David Goodis – The Moon
In The Gutter
I have had this and other works by this prolific 50’s author
on the unread pile for over 10 years. If I wait a while longer I‘m guessing it
won’t matter too much. Don't Shoot The Piano Player may be better known than this offering.
Another piece of pulp
fiction, Goodis's 1953 noirish novel portrays the story of protagonist Bill
Kerrigan, a poor street-hardened man who marries wealthy Loretta Channing.
Kerrigan, however, soon learns that class is something you can't buy and once a
street punk, always a street punk.
John Gardner – The Liquidator
I like espionage and
I like on occasion authors that can make me laugh. I don’t always need grit and
realism in what I read, sometimes I need a giggle and this seems to fit the
bill. Acquired last year, along with
some of the later ones, so it’s not been ignored too long.
Boysie Oakes is fictional secret agent created by the British spy novelist John Gardner in 1964 at the height of
the fictional spy mania. Oakes is a richly comic character who is inadvertently
taken to be a tough, pitiless man of action and is thereupon recruited into a
British spy agency. He is, in actuality, a devout coward with many other
character flaws who wants nothing more than to be left alone.
An example of the endearing points in these novels is the continuing appearance
of monogrammed "BO" gifts from his mother - shirts, handkerchiefs,
cigarette lighter, and so forth. He would never dream of NOT using them, even
though he resents them.
The cowardly Oakes starred in another seven novels over the next 15 years
and eventually, once again by inadvertence, becomes the head of the secret
agency that has caused him to be in a constant state of terror for so long.
The first novel in the series, The Liquidator, was made into a feature film of the same name in 1965,
starring Rod Taylor as Boysie Oakes.
Off to do some research on my H's!