Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Grind

Over at Ransom Notes, it may seem I'm giving Ken Bruen a hard time about his latest Jack Taylor book The Devil. Maybe I am. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading it - the same way I enjoy reading everything he writes, but let's face it, there's major Bruen (the first two or three Taylors, American Skin, I'd put most of his standalones in there, like the Hackman Blues - just reissued from Busted Flush Press err now Tyrus - Dispatching Baudelaire, Rilke on Black) and you've got your minor Bruen, (the Brant books, Taylor from at least Priest on, the Max and Angela series). Major Bruen has a tendency toward devastation while minor is just fun to read, and the Taylor books have become minor Bruen reaching for major and there's a problem there. The devastation I used to feel right along with Jack has piled up to the point that it's simply not effective any more. There're still great lines and passages - my favorite from this one involves Jack finally resolving to deal with a problem individual and when he goes to confront and most likely kill him, the guy's got cocaine and hookers waiting with him. Does Jack do what he came to? Let's just say, he takes his time getting to it - but the latter Taylor titles just don't stand up to the first few.

Craig McDonald is giving us some hints as to what to expect from his next Hector Lassiter book, One True Sentence. Though, at this point, I think it would be fair to start calling it the Hec and Hem books, 'cause Ernest Hemingway plays a very close second fiddle to Lassiter in the last two and it looks like the next couple of titles as well. But where the first three books have jumped around in time liberally, Craig says: ONE TRUE SENTENCE is set in exactly one week of February 1924...just seven fast-moving days in Paris. The cast of characters for this one includes Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Beach, Ford Maddox Ford, William Carlos Williams and Jean Paul Fargue, among others. Can't wait.

Keith Rawson interviews Benjamin Whitmer, author of Pike for Spinetingler, and "the beef" grills itself at Nigel Bird's site Sea Minor. Look closely there, I think somebody's got a man crush on yours truly. Thanks, Keith, Pre-shate it very much. Always could use feedback and especially the super flattering type you just dished out. Nigel's hosting a series of these self-interviews and most likely I'll find some time to go dancing with myself over there soon. I'll letcha know.

Finally, it's been a good week for me. Passed a milestone, felt like a kidneystone, on a writing project. I also read three good books, Lethal Injection by Jim Nisbet, The Gnawing, (part 6 of Jason Aaron's Scalped saga) and John Rector's The Grove. I finally got to see Nash Edgerton's fantastic noir The Square (think Blood Simple), and if you haven't seen a trailer for A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Soup, a Chinese language, period piece based on the Coen Brother's startling debut, go check it out and tell me whatcha think. You excited? Puzzled? Outraged?

Also, for my fellow St. Louisans I'd like to take the opportunity to promote an event I was only tangentally aware of before, but The Hi Pointe theater, no longer a Landmark chain, but a real true locally owned and operated independent house who promotes big movies - Inception, The Expendables last week and the little ones like Get Low this week alike. They hold a midnight movie event called Late Night Grindhouse and they do it up proper with a host and old trailer reels, (and it's only $6). I saw Cannibal Holocaust and it was a great experience. I know recently they'vs shown Evil Dead and Rec 2, I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more. Tonight, I've got passes to Robert Rodriguez's Machete - a possible future feature there. Gotta love it.


jedidiah ayres said...

Just got a comment from one of my favorite writers regarding ROBERT OLMSTEAD's Coal Black Horse post a couple weeks back. Thought I'd share it -

Saw yr mention of robt olmstead, and second it to the hilt. Mr olmstead was at henry holt while I was, never met, but whenever they asked me which of their books I’d like for free, I walked away with more olmstead. His short stories are good tough rural tales mostly told by a country boy who knows a lot of farm-facts, some of which will make you mighty glad granpa sold the farm before you had to grow up working on it. His memoir is powerful as are the other novels, all of which show virtues that ought to appeal to readers from hardboiled thunderfuck, or whatever this site is called. -

Please refer to this site as HARDBOILED THUNDERFUCK from now on


Craig McDonald said...

Thanks for the shout out on ONE TRUE SENTENCE. I can tell you, however, that while Hemingway is in most of OTS as sidekick, it is the last Lassiter novel in which he has any presence. I described this one as a kind of tipping point in the series and that's true in a number of senses. The one after OTS is a major change-up on several levels.

jedidiah ayres said...

Craig - wow. No more Hem after OTS. Here I was thinking Gnashville was gonna be about him too. Alright, you know I'm on board regardless

nigel p bird said...

re: dancing with myself
and mr ayres, all you need to do when the interview is complete is send it on to me at
i posted up as a participant today and you've made some people very happy by joining in (on aj hayes in particular)

Rod Norman said...

Jed, Im normally with you on 99% of things, but I couldn't disagree more on Ken's "The Devil".

jedidiah ayres said...

s'alright, Rod. Again, it's not that I didn't enjoy reading it, I just don't think it lives up to the legacy of the first couple Taylors. You know I love Ken.