Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Opening Sentence

"Mother died today."

From what book?

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Serious Program Graduate.....

This is a great email I received from a reader - and one helluva character. Thought those of you who "got with the Program" might appreciate hearing from a tried and tested Program graduate. I left out his name and telling details to protect the innocent...

Mr. Hurwitz:

First, KILL CLAUSE and now THE PROGRAM. KC got my attention, TP has me stunned.

An avid and voracious reader, I download dozens of e-books every few months. I will buy the hardcover of THE PROGRAM, as I plan to reread it, something I’ve only done one or two times in my 64 years.

Graduating class of 1960, I lived among the cultists for more than a decade, in my travels to Topanga, Berzerkly, and Eselen, the Pamirs and Ibiza, Southwest deserts and my hometown of L.A.

….sitting in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel on a bus-stop bench, giggling at the traffic, the ‘fact’ of my just having lived 1.5 yrs. in the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan…hitching barefoot to the Baleares…now in a three-piece, selling air freight…soon to be lobster-fishing at 3:00 a.m. off San Nicholas Island, So. Cal. with Naval artillery screaming o’head, clods of the island raining on me…to home here in Idaho with my eight and ten-year-old kids, the three of us….

I'm sure that the statutes have run out on any of the chapters of my reality that I may have misplaced...let's see...1960 thru 1967...haven't a clue....something about Zomeworks in New Mexico...Haight-Ashbury when SuperSpade flew off the bridge...walking into the Psychedelicatessen in NYC, plunking down $$ and wordlessly walking out 30 seconds later with a K of something or other...standing in the middle of Connaught Circus, downtown New Delhi, with a used one-way airline ticket and $200, mumbling 'man...really f****d up bigtime, here...'...breakfast with the King of Chitral a few months and miles my grandfather said "peregrinations in odd places".

Your work rings true and solid. Stark terror in the cults…Lock and Load, yes…common-sensors cannot comprehend, God bless us, everyone….

Must let the 'gotcha dust' settle from your last ride. I'm still seeing events from Troubleshooter out of the corner of my mind as I drive down the street.... Your characters really live.

Thanks for putting it out there. Thanks for the Rackleys…

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hard Case Crime

Last week's quotation was from Macbeth, the original Godfather.

I just read Stephen King's The Colorado Kid, out from Hard Case Crime. The HCC books are absolutely beautiful - the aesthetics mirror pulp paperbacks from the '50s, and indeed they are reprinting some classic crime novels, as well as commissioning new ones to be released in paperback format (King, Max Allen Collins, Jason Starr and Ken Bruen).

In the controversial afterword to The Colorado King, Stephen King says, "I write to find out what I think." I would guess that this is an intentional homage to Joan Dideon's quotation, which I listed on my blog (see entry two back titled Dante's Revenge).

If you haven't already checked out Hard Case Crime, I suggest you do so. They'll bring back memories. These guys do it precisely right.

Monday, November 07, 2005

T. Jefferson Parker and Our New Quotation

Last week's quotation....Jeff Parker. My favorite thing about Jeff's writing is his characterization, and that sentence is a beaut. He manages to work in a complex psychological take on Merci without it feeling heavy handed, and without giving it too much emphasis. It's funny, even, and it deploys character in the service of the plot.

I had a really funny experience once reading one of Jeff's books. He used the word "skosh," and I looked it up in my American Heritage Dictionary, curious as to its origin (Japanese). The dictionary then offered a usage example from, you guessed it, T Jefferson Parker. I told Jeff and we had a good laugh and then he went out and bought the dictionary. Hell, I would have too.

Next quotation, one of my all-time favorites (in keeping with our crime theme):

"I am in blood stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er."