Friday, November 29, 2013

Read: "Best American Noir of the Century" edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler.

Read: Best American Noir of the Century edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler, 2010, 9780547330778.

This is thick at 731 pages.  Each story has a short bio of the author and his writing career.I read 2-3 of these stories before.  I enjoyed the later stories more than the first ones.

Favorites?  Hard to say because I don't want to go back through and skim all 39 tales.  They are all good, they're in a "best of" after all. From a quick skim:

1. 1938. Steve Fisher's You'll Always Remember Me narrated by a teen sociopath in military school who is letting his girlfriend's brother sit on death row for a crime the narrator committed.
2. 1953. Mickey Spillane's The Lady Says Die about a guy who gets revenge against a "friend" who stole away his faince by leading him to suicide.
3.  1953. David Goodis's Professional Man.  A hit man is told by his boss to quit a girl so the boss could pursue her.  She refuses the boss and he orders the hit man to kill her.
4.  1956. Evan Hunter and Last Spin.  Two gang members play Russian Roulette.  They were chosen by the gang to play until one is dead as a way to solve a feud.  The guys have a lot in common, the stress makes them quick friends.  Reminds me of a recent Key and Peele skit with a Crip and Blood becoming friends through life but always pointing guns at each other.
5.  1972. David Morrell's The Dripping was especially creepy witha man's mother murderinghis wife and daughter.
6. 1984. Stephen Greenleaf's Iris with a traveling PI having a baby abandoned with him. He follows the loopy-crazy woman and uncovers a baby smuggling ring which ends badly.
7.  1993. Harlan Ellison's mind-reader and a killer who can do the same, Mefisto in Onyx

8.  1997. Joyce Carol Oates's family murder mystery, Faithless
9.  2003. All Through the House by Christopher Coake about a family murder suicide and the killer's best friend who was banging his wife.  Told backward in time.

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