Chainsaw and Corris
I have been binge reading the Australian mystery writer Peter Corris. He and Lawrence Block are among the closest modern writers I know to hardboiled. I’ve loved Block’s Matthew Scudder’s detective novels, and I’ve discovered I love the different landscape and atmosphere of the Corris novels, which are all set in Australia.
There are about 40 books, and some of them are short story collections, and I’ve probably read 10 of them now, although not all in the last few days. The mysteries are strong and he’s great with characters. So far I’ve just been reading the ones he wrote in the ‘80s rather than the ones he’s written most recently, so maybe they drop in quality. Or maybe they get even better.
The other morning I finished The Marvelous Boy and I saved this bit of prose for you as our hero Cliff Hardy is walking into a weight lifting club to seek information:
A girl was sitting at a desk reading a magazine, smoking, and drinking coffee from a polystyrene cup. Her yellow hair fell down from a centre part that ran like a white scar along her skull. She looked up and gave me a fifty carat smile with capped teeth, red lips and eyes like jeweled spiders.
“Good Afternoon, Sir,” she breathed. “Are you interested in building a new body?”
“Not really. I need a new one.”
The other night I tried mixing things up by reading another detective series and after two chapters I just went online and checked out another e-library book starring Cliff Hardy. I think it says something for him that I just keep wanting to read more.