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just trying to keep score.

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“Suddenly it was as if I could see this scene as it unfolded on a stage or screen: the vast house, lit from within but surrounded by darkness. The troubled wife treading lightly on the kitchen floorboards, whispering to her husband. And the workman beneath her feet, beneath the house, staring overhead: all knotted muscle and clenched teeth, mythical and bristling. A member of the underworld, bent on mutiny.”

Elissa Ward, The Secret Lives of Married Women

Hard Case doesn’t always deliver on its promise: their stuff tends a little toward the faults of pulp, as it should; mechanical plotting, functional characterization, thin and predictable if lurid psychology, velocity over all else. They are, after all, unrepentantly a pulp house, even if they do very nice stuff with their pulp. But every once in a while there’s something that reaches outside its class—or, in this case, so entirely captures and crystallizes it that you just have to tip your hat.

Hard Case Crime 10.08.13



May 31, 2014, 10:30am  Comments

michael connelly, the scarecrow

"The art of sports writing always amazed me. Nine out of ten times the reader already knows the outcome of your story before reading it. They know who won, they probably even watched the game. But they read about it anyway and you have to write with an insight and angle that makes it seem fresh."

Which is interesting, and accurate nowadays. We’re well removed from the time when you’d have to follow a team from the box scores, or recreate a game from a newspaper report. But the difference in media matters to the experience of the game — listening on the radio is always surprising, when you realize how much better the color and play-by-play guys have to be to create their complete picture of the action on the court; likewise sportswriting, which has more in common with criticism than straight news reporting, revealing not just action but what it means, providing a close reading of a text that illuminates its finer points.

Little Brown 05.26.09



August 28, 2010, 7:45am   Comments

lee child, one shot

"Not an auto-parts store. The auto-parts store. Maybe the only one, or at least the main one. Which in any city is always right there on the same strip as the tire stores and the auto dealers and the lube shops. Which in any city is always a wide new strip near a highway cloverleaf. Cities are all different, but they’re also all the same.”

Late-summer head cold. Means pulp. 

"A place like that, stock was unloaded directly onto the shelves. No hidden inventory. Reacher knew how modern retail worked. He read the papers people left behind on buses and in diner booths."

Delacorte 06.05



August 27, 2010, 7:16pm   Comments