Hardboiled Monday: Fast One

fastoneAs with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here.

I remain disappointed that there was so little interest voiced about the Howard Browne book from last week. As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of the finest books on the entire list, but I think we got more FB Likes and comments on that silly Spam Haiku post on Wednesday. If you somehow missed our discussion on The Taste of Ashes, take a look. And if you like this stuff, by God, order a copy of the complete Paul Pine detective stories from Stephen Haffner. Just trust me on this one.

Today we’re looking at Fast One, by Paul Cain.

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Lord Dunsany Re-Read: A Dreamer’s Tales, Part 1

dreamer's talesThis week launches the first instcallment of our read through of a Lord Dunsany short story collection, A Dreamer’s Tales. My friends Bill Ward and C.S.E. Cooney have been kind enough to join me in posting their thoughts. You can join in too — this book’s stories not only are quite short, they’re freely available as a Kindle download or through Project Gutenberg. It won’t take very long to catch up if you haven’t read them yet, so you might want to do so before you read any further. We began with  the first five of them.

We could have started the re-read with any of Lord Dunsany’s eight short-story collections, but I thought the opening entries in A Dreamer’s Tales were quite strong and hopefully would convince newcomers to stick with him.

Here’s how I rate them. One star is a standout. Two stars means it’s among Lord Dunsany’s very best.

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Spam Haiku


Some stunning work from Heather Jansch.

Bill Ward and I were talking the other day about the vast waves of spam that wash up from the Internet onto our sites and how it could be inspiring. After all, wonderful artwork can be fashioned from driftwood swept in from the sea. Could we do the same with phrases clipped from tens of thousands of messages and “friendly posts” for our blog sites trapped by our spam filters?

Yes. Yes, we could. And surely we have shaped it into art destined to shine like a beacon and illuminate the way for future disciples.

Incidentally, Bill searched for Spam Haiku and found a Haiku site dedicated to the actual food product. Really and truly. Ours is different from that, though. We’re artistic innovators, we are, fashioning masterpieces culled from Internet spam.

Well, maybe not masterpieces. Surely not masterpieces.

They’re not true Haiku,
but perhaps they will amuse.
They fit the meter.

Anyway, our creations can be found below, made entirely from phrases we found in our spam filters. Some were trimmed for size, but it’s surprising how much of it simply worked as it was. Read More




Hardboiled Monday: Howard Browne

ashesAs with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details here. And earlier discussions are here.

Chris Hocking recommended all of Browne’s mystery novels: the four Paul Pine books and a standalone, Thin Air. I couldn’t lay hands on the first three Paul Pine books, and Thin Air got lost in the mail, but Hocking had given me The Taste of Ashes. It came wrapped in a deceptively mediocre cover that provided little clue as to how outstanding the prose within would be.

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The Big Lord Dunsany Re-Read

time and the godsI don’t actually know how big it will be, because so far I have me and anyone else who wants to join in. Which means just me.

While prepping for the lecture I gave at the Big Read I started thinking about all of the great Lord Dunsany short stories I’ve enjoyed over the years and realized that there were a couple of collections I’d still only sampled from. I decided it was time to revisit that lyrical master of the fantastic.

I hope some of you will join in. For the next three or four Fridays I’ll be reading through A Dreamer’s Tales, and for the first week I’ll be reading: Read More

Hardboiled Monday

Hardboiled and Noir List

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A few posts ago I mentioned my friend Chris Hocking had provided me with an amazing list of hardboiled and noir fiction. Hocking gave me the titles of the…