Friday, January 2, 2009
Kiss My Ass 2008
2008 - Those of us who got out alive are not without our scars and we look with open distrust as 2009 extends its mangy paw. As if it weren't enough to take from us James Crumley, (creator of Milo Milodragovitch and C.W. Sughrue), literary stepfather to a generation of two-fisted, noir/hardboiled authors like Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos, (who all claim The Last Good Kiss as the book that cemented their intentions to write what they do), Gregory McDonald, (Fletch), Robin Moore, (and fellow French Connection connection, Roy Scheider), Sydney Pollack, (when he was on he was on - They Shoot Horses Don't They, Three Days of the Condor, not to mention a great turn in the last season of The Sopranos), Charleton Heston, (Major Dundee), Paul Newman, (Harper, The Hustler) and Jules Dassin, (Rififi), 2008 in its last shot at Hardboiled Wonderland took Donald E. Westlake December 31. Westlake wrote something like a million books and screenplays in his 75 years, both under his own name and the iconic hardboiled Parker series, the first of which, The Hunter, was made into Point Blank with Lee Marvin and Payback with Mel Gibson, under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Of all the cheap shots. Westlake has never been out of the HBW conciousness, but with Richard Ardai's Hard Case Crime publications bringing classic Westlake titles like Somebody Owes Me Money, Lemons Never Lie, (a Stark/Parker), and March's edition - The Cutie, (originally published as The Mercenaries), back into print, IDW publishing the first four Parker books, (The Hunter, The Man With the Getaway Face, The Outfit, The Mourner), as graphic novels adapted by Darwyn Cooke and the much underseen, but due for a cult audience Director's Cut of Payback - SEE IT - recently out, he's never been more vital. RIP Don. Kiss my ass, 2008.