Noir-ish 2

Reading Elmore Leonard’s Chickasaw Charlie Hoke.

There is a “big redhead” named Vernice, looking “like a strawberry sundae in her La-Z-Boy.”

There is “bourbon over crushed ice.”

There are mentions of “a pit boss at Bally’s,” a waitress at the Isle of Capri coffee shop.

There is an “RV in a trailer park on the outskirts of Tunica, Mississippi.”

Very fun reading Elmore Leonard. It brings back all the FEELZ about Justified, the F/X series that ran for six seasons and had Timothy Olyphant! Timothy Olyphant! Who Salon’s TV reviewer described as “one tall, cool drink of water”!


Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.


Reading Elmore Leonard’s “Sparks.”

There must be gin.

There must be a rich widow who knows how to roll a joint.

There must be a detective of a certain age (and he must be a Jim or a Joe)

There must be dialogue like this:

“But, basically, Joe, we got together the way people usually do, and fell in love.”

“He was a lot older than you.”

“What you’re asking now, did I marry him for his money. Sure, that had a lot to do with it. But I liked him.”

It is summer, it is summer, it is summer. Summer and noir go together like white on rice.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.


My Cousin Rachel, Chapter V: Who Is Gaslighting Who?

Clever, clever Daphne du Maurier. She writes as though she had a Ph.D. in Psychology.

Oh, wait. She’s a writer. All writers know psychology. To a certain degree.

Self will not lie: the summer is over, and so many things demand her attention. How she loved reading like nothing else mattered. She read Jamaica Inn in a perfect cone of concentration.

Here in Ch. V, dear, misguided Philip Ashley, having no inkling of the train that is coming to bear down on him, meets Signor Rainaldi for the first time, and doesn’t quite trust him. Signor Rainaldi has just strongly hinted that he thinks Philip should return home to England instead of poking about Florence for answers that will never come. Philip rather unwisely reveals his worries to this complete stranger:

“These two letters,” I said stubbornly, “are not the letters of a sick man, of a person ill. They are the letters of a man who has enemies, who is surrounded by people he cannot trust.”

Signor Rainaldi watched me steadily.

“They are the letters of a man who was sick in mind, Mr. Ashley,” he answered me. “Forgive my bluntness, but I saw him those last weeks, and you did not. The experience was not a pleasant one for any of us, least of all for his wife. You see what he says in that first letter there, that she did not leave him. I can vouchsafe for that. She did not leave him night or day. Another woman would have had nuns to tend him. She nursed him alone, she spared herself nothing.”

“Yet it did not help him,” I said. “Look at the letters, and this last line, ‘She has done for me at last, Rachel my torment . . . ‘ What do you make of that, Signor Rainaldi?”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



My Cousin Rachel, Ch. IV

The callow young nephew is off to Florence (his first trip to Italy) and this sentence perfectly captures his confusion:

  • Used to the silence of a well-nigh empty house — for the servants slept away in their own quarters beneath the clock tower — where I heard no sound at night but the wind in the trees and the lash of rain when it blew from the southwest, the ceaseless clatter and turmoil of foreign cities came near to stupefying me.

Beautiful sentence, where it starts and where it ends is a complete arc. It is so balanced.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Jamaica Inn, Ch. 5

Mary Yellan at dinner with her uncle, Joss Merlyn:

  • And she answered “Yes” and “No” in reply to her uncle, and drank down her tea, watching him over the brim of her cup, her eyes travelling from his great plate of steaming stew to his long, powerful fingers, hideous in their strength and grace.

This Scene: Jamaica Inn, Ch. 2

Her aunt, who had not uttered a word since her husband entered the room, was frying bacon over the fire. No one spoke. Mary was aware of Joss Merlyn watching her across the table, and behind her she could hear her aunt fumbling with ineffectual fingers at the hot handle of the frying pan.

Some Thoughts:

  • The frying of the bacon in the middle of the night is a very interesting touch.
  • Joss Merlyn is an utter pig and Mary has certainly landed herself in a pickle, stuck with him and his cowed wife in an inn of uncertain repute in the middle of a nightmarishly stark and unfamiliar landscape.

So far, the novel reads like one of those dark fairy tales where a damsel in distress has to endure trial by fire before she encounters a) a prince; b) a fairy godmother; c) an inheritance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: story-in-progress “The Mark”

“Come with us, we’ll show you,” says the shorter man.

“I don’t trust you, I don’t know you. Why should I go with you?”

“Sometimes,” says the taller of the men, coming up to him with a slight air of menace, “sometimes you just have to get out.”

“That’s right,” says his companion. “Get out.”

P.S. #everlark

Because dystopia is everything.

Stay tuned.

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