Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Life of a Pulp Writer

May 31, 2011
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I was in the merchant marine. I began to write while I was doing that, while I was at sea. And finally, one magical day, I got a letter when I got back north that said I’d sold a story. I sold one to a newspaper syndicate, and I was so excited I quit...

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Quick Takes: Trailer Park Noir, The Sisters Brothers

May 31, 2011
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Quick Takes: Trailer Park Noir, The Sisters Brothers

Trailer Park Noir by Ray Garton takes some proudly despicable characters with clashing motives, puts them in a closed environment and has them interact with each other. As a reader, you know this isn’t going to end well, and it doesn’t. It’s a classic fuck-ups racing each other to the bottom story. Recommended Ray...

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The Hangover II is a…noir?

May 28, 2011
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In an article over at The Atlantic called The Brutal Hilarity of ‘The Hangover Part II’ Christopher Orr makes a small case that The Hangover II is noir, or hardboiled, or something. Indeed, the comedy is not just black but noir–which is apt, given the formula to which Phillips has adhered so rigidly. The...

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Jim Thompson documentary

May 28, 2011
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This mini documentary on Jim Thompson appeared as an extra on the DVD of The Grifters. Thanks to Dead End Follies Brian LindenmuthBrian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review,...

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Emma Sue by Dave Zeltserman from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir – review

May 26, 2011
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Emma Sue by Dave Zeltserman from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir – review

Reviewed by Nick Mamatas Emma Sue is a very violent woman. After ten years of marriage and a failed ranch, her choice is to work and be separated from her husband Bo each night…or to steal and kill with him in tow. So stealing and killing it is, and her suddenly milquetoast spouse just...

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Piano Man by Bill Crider from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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Piano Man by Bill Crider from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Steve Weddle COTTONWOOD by Scott Phillips. The stories from Edward A. Grainger. A little something here and there. I don’t read many westerns, but “Piano Bar” from Bill Crider shows me I should. The setting is solid, not overdone. The character is spot on. A tired piano player who grew up playing...

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Lucky by Harry Shannon from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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Lucky by Harry Shannon from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Russel D McLean One can argue about what noir is until the cows come home, but for me the most basic elements have been ordinary people making extraordinarily bad decisions. Setting seems to matter to some, but for me, the idea of a Western Noir is something that seems perfectly natural given...

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Last Song Of Antietam by Patrick J. Lambe from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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Last Song Of Antietam by Patrick J. Lambe from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Ben Springer Last Song of Antietam, is my first introduction to the work of Patrick J. Lambe. With a limited word count Lambe easily manages to create a full-fledged story complete with character development. That’s something you rarely get in the short story format. Without giving away too much, this is a...

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The Cartoonist by Jon L. Breen from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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The Cartoonist by Jon L. Breen from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Chris Rhatigan When portrait photographer Terrence Webb goes to talk with the editor of the Adcock City Clarion, he’s there to do more than discuss an ad that was printed upside down. Webb pitches his fiercely satirical cartoons to the editor, which portray Adcock City’s founding father as a greedy and corrupt...

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In Some Countries by Jerry Raine from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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In Some Countries by Jerry Raine from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Chris F. Holm I’ll tell you right now: “In Some Countries” ain’t gonna be for everyone. It’s a bleak, gruesome tale, rife with violence toward animals, and told in prose so plain it doesn’t give you the luxury of hiding behind euphemism or suggestion. Come to think of it, this story may...

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Lead Poisoning by Gary Lovisi from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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Lead Poisoning by Gary Lovisi from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Cullen Gallagher If anyone is carrying the pulp torch today, it is Gary Lovisi. Like a modern day Frank Gruber or Richard Sale (I hope he likes Gruber and Sale, as I mean this as a great compliment), Lovisi can not only write it all, but already has—and in spades! Author, historian,...

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Going Where the Wind Blows by Jan Christensen from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 26, 2011
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Going Where the Wind Blows by Jan Christensen from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Cullen Gallagher I’m a sucker for great first lines, and Jan Christensen’s “Going Where the Wind Blows” begins with this stellar hook: “It wasn’t that she liked whoring. But what else could a gal do?” The voice of her main character, Rita Mae Wilson, is immediately apparent, as are the qualities that...

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Durston by Norman Partridge from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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Durston by Norman Partridge from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Matthew Funk Durston starts strong with a snarling first line—“The whore wouldn’t take his money.” You expect a moment of mercy to find your footing after words like those. But Norman Partridge’s western noir lays into you with the back of its hand with every sentence. This is a story that starts...

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All Good Men by Terry Tanner from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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All Good Men by Terry Tanner from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Patti Abbott Appearing originally in HARDLUCK STORIES in 2006, this is a nifty little story where I’d be hard-pressed to find a single unnecessary word. I tried to locate other stories by Mr. Tanner but failed. He seems to have spent most of his life as a border guard and his knowledge...

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Cowards Die Many Times by Robert J Randisi from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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Cowards Die Many Times by Robert J Randisi from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Charlie Stella Old New York, Bat Masterson, Damon Runyon and Arnold Rothstein (with a cameo by James M. Cain) are featured in a tale named for a line from Shakespeare. A poker game that turns into a bloodbath with a hitch; was former cop Val O’Farrell the target or one lucky S.O.B....

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Colt by Ken Bruen from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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Colt by Ken Bruen from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Nik Korpon Let me give a disclaimer first: This is my first Ken Bruen. He’s one of those who everyone else has read, and I’ve had on the TBR shelf for a while, but other things kept popping up. And after reading his story Colt, I think I’ve done myself a big...

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Hell by Bentley Little from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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Hell by Bentley Little from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Jedidiah Ayres First lemme say how much I love the idea behind this collection. Let me follow that up by saying how natural a fit the two genres are, (The Searchers anybody? Unforgiven? Blood Meridian? Smonk?), but “Hell” by Bentley Little follows up the introduction from James Sallis moving in what feels...

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The Conversion of Carne Muerto by James Reasoner from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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The Conversion of Carne Muerto by James Reasoner from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Benjamin Whitmer When I got the email from Brian Lindenmuth asking me to take part in a group review of the stories in a western noir anthology, I’ll admit I got pretty excited. Those are two things near and dear to my heart, and I could think of all kinds of interesting...

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The Old Ways by Ed Gorman from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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The Old Ways by Ed Gorman from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

I usually don’t give a shit about Westerns. I don’t care about Lonesome Dove or Louis L’Amour. I find the language is forced most of the time and everything feels like a big caricature. I’d rather read about a man getting away in a mustang than on a mustang. Not to start in with...

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Hell Hath No Fury by T. L. Wolf from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

May 25, 2011
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Hell Hath No Fury by T. L. Wolf from On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir

Reviewed by Jen Forbus “Hell Hath No Fury” is a fun story full of shady characters all trying to out smart and double cross each other in an effort to bring in a bounty. It’s the Wild West and there are no holds barred. The plot itself lacks much in the way of originality...

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