Past Squares 7: A Look Back at This Kickass Reading Year (2021)

This is also today’s post for Life of B’s Past Squares!

Next: Chris Offutt, The Killing Hills

The old man walked the hill with a long stick, pushing aside mayapple and horseweed, seeking ginseng.

The Killing Hills, p. 1

Sentence of the Day: The Butcher’s Boy, p. 155

What is it about Las Vegas? It just seems to pull the best writing out of writers, especially writers of noir. Which Thomas Perry definitely is.

  • The dealer looked young, his carefully sculpted hair blond from the sun, but already he had the ageless look of detached competence they all seemed to have worn into them.

TBB Quote of the Day

After the hit man gets mugged in a dark alley in Denver (Denver! He kills the muggers of course. Thankfully, there are just two), existential despair:

He caught sight of himself in the other mirror, sitting naked on the bed. A small, whitish animal with a few tufts of hair. And hurt, too. As he watched, the injured face in the mirror contracted a little, seemed to clench and compress itself into a mask of despair. A sigh like a strangled squeak escaped from its throat. He said aloud to the face, “You sorry little bastard.”

The Butcher’s Boy, p. 39

Self does not know how Thomas Perry does it, but she feels empathy for this hit man — his alone-ness, his (of all things) vulnerability. The fact that he doesn’t have a name makes him more sympathetic, not less.

Stay tuned.

Elizabeth Waring in The Butcher’s Boy

When self was reading Michael Connelly’s great introduction to this novel, she was very excited to read that the plot actually has two main characters: the professional hit man, and a woman, Elizabeth Waring, the DOJ analyst who’s on his trail.

She is so happy that Elizabeth is introduced almost right away. It’s a very mundane scene: as a relatively new addition to the department, she has to hone her chops by reading over piles of reports to sniff out the details that seem “extra” suspicious. She consults with a colleague, who looks over her “possibles” and then picks out one — a very ordinary case — and says, why don’t you look into this one?

There is no reason on God’s earth why that agent should pick out that one case, but it’s pretty exciting when he tells Elizabeth, “Just a hunch.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Michael Connelly

A book is like a car. It pulls up to the curb and the passenger door swings open to the reader. The engine revs. Do you want a ride?

Once you get in, the car takes off, the door slamming shut and the rubber burning in its wake. Behind the wheel the driver’s got to be highly skilled, heavy on the pedal, and most of all, oh man, most of all, somebody you want to be with. He’s got to drive near the edge of the cliff but never over. He’s got to turn sharply just as you think you know where you are going. He’s got to gun it on the final lap.

Introduction by Michael Connelly to the 2003 Edition of Thomas Perry’s The Butcher’s Boy

Self borrowed her copy from the library, and it is pretty beat up. Nevertheless.

She absolutely loved Eddie’s Boy. Which is what led her here, to the very first book of the series. What did she love so much about Eddie’s Boy? The main character was a professional hit man, married to a member of the British peerage. If that character description doesn’t grab you, self doesn’t know what will.

Razorblade Tears, Staying True to the Genre

There is so much over-the-top violence in this book, it even outdoes Eddie’s Boy in that department (and if you have read Eddie’s Boy, you know that is saying a lot). Anyhoo, self doesn’t really mind, because it stays true to its genre. Not only that, the plot is something else.

Her favorite character is Buddy Lee.

“And we gonna need guns. Lots of guns,” Ike said. Buddy Lee sucked his teeth.

“I think we can kill both them birds with one stone. But we gotta go talk to some folks. What we gonna do with him?” Buddy Lee asked.

“We’ll chain him to the sink in the bathroom,” Ike said.

“You came up with that quick,” Buddy Lee said.

“This ain’t my first rodeo.”

“I know, mine neither. You got a talent for it, though,” Buddy Lee said.

“Unfortunately,” Ike said.

Razorblade Tears, p. 290

Her next book (which she is quite itching to get to) is called The End of Men, and it’s about a dystopian future world where men are an endangered gender. Unfortunately, we still need them to reproduce. In light of Texas bounty hunter/abortion law which the Supreme Court of the United States allowed to let stand (despite the law’s utter stupidity; self is a woman, she is allowed to say such things), she will have a lot of fun reading about a future world where men are scarce.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2nd Noir of the Day, 2 September 2021

“What the hell is going on out here?” Randy yelled. He had the self-assurance of most mediocre men.

Razorblade Tears, p. 157

There is much violence in this book. In fact, the two main characters can’t seem to hold a normal conversation, unless it’s with each other. With others, each conversation begins with a threat and ends with violence. That’s a lot of violence because, this being noir, there’s also a lot of conversation.

Nevertheless.

You will be vested in the characters.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Noir of the Day

Remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis has to …

Never mind. Read on.

“I can just tell ’em you ain’t here,” Jazzy said.

“No, that’s okay. Let’s see what they want,” Ike said. He walked around his cubicle and headed for the lobby. As he was on his way he grabbed a machete off the wall.

Five men in leather vests and various degrees of hirsuteness were standing in the lobby. A couple of them were reading the avertisements on the wall. Two more were standing near the door. A big blond man with a wicked scar on his cheek that cut through his beard was leaning against the soda machine with his heavily tattooed arms crossed.

Ike placed the machete on the counter.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

Razorblade Tears, p. 105

1st of September: RAZORBLADE TEARS Quote of the Day

When he hit the ground, the big pistol jumped out of his hand like the Gingerbread Man making a break for it.

Razorblade Tears, p. 79

« Older entries

Cath's Camera

life through my lens

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon

myguiltypleasures

welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

InMyDirection

fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP