Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I really love old crime novels. I've read them since I was a kid, and the only real problem was finding copies of stuff that was long out of print. I have Strange Pursuit, by N. R. De Mexico, which is one of only three entries by Suspense Novel, falling apart. And I've found old books from publishers like Phantom, Popular Library, Gold Medal, and Red Seal.
Earlier this year, I found a publisher that I can't believe I hadn't seen before, Hard Case Crime. Oh, god, is it good. They publish novels that have been out of print for more than 50 years by authors like Cornell Woolrich and Lawrence Block and David Goodis, kings of pulp. And they have new books by authors that I've loved like Max Allan Collins. I've read 24 of the books so far and I've loved every one of them. They are so much damn fun to read.
As I've been reading them, I've tried to remember to write down lines that I really liked, so here are some of them:
...I heard him say he wanted to see the senior partner. He said it with the air of a man who always demands the best, and then settles for what he can get.
Top of the Heap by Erle Stanley Gardner
People generally take their time putting two and two together, and even so they generally come up with five.
Grifter's Game by Lawrence Block
That old boy has teeth you simply would not credit.
Fade to Blonde by Max Phillips
She was a big, soft-looking girl with energetic brown eyes, and she still trusted everybody she met and believed every story she heard. I was always glad to see Joanie, because it meant nobody had killed her yet.
Fade to Blond by Max Phillips
The figure she cut had nothing to do with speech.
Shooting Star by Robert Bloch
That was his privilege, his prerogative, as the man of the house, to answer the phone if it rang when he happened to be there; rather than hers. It was a mechanical instrument, it was an electrical thing, it was a thing of wires, it still fell more within the masculine domain than the feminine.
Fright by Cornell Woolrich
She looked hot enough to catch fire, but too lazy to do anything but just lie there and smoke.
The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer
And there are pages and pages of these great lines in every one of these books. And the books themselves are beautiful, with the mass-market style format with salacious art by guys like Robert McGinnis, who is one of the most legendary cover painters.