My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, June 11

Lawrence Block & Reed Coleman

I just can't seem to stay away from writing about some of my favorite writers, but here I go again. Lawrence Block is an old favorite of mine. Right now I'm reading a collection of his stories about Matt Scudder, The Night and the Music. I'm also catching up with another of his great characters, Keller, the likable hitman. But it's really the Scudder series I'm most fond of, having read the whole series three times. The third time through, I was reading as fast as I could to watch the characters develop and the writing style improve. In tracking the main characters, I could never quite remember when each of them showed up. Like Elaine, Matt’s hooker friend and occasional lover. And Mick Ballou, Matt’s hooligan Irishman who in the oddest circumstances becomes maybe Matt’s best male friend. Then there’s the young black TJ, whom Matt sort of adopts. He shows up for the first time in A Walk among the Tombstones and becomes a main character in the final six in the series. I wonder what it’s like for an author like Block, to create and keep track of these people, to watch them develop almost beyond his control. How must he feel about them? They have to be much more than words on a page. More like very dear friends who will never desert him. This is such a good series, so very brutal, so very well written, such well-developed characters. Matt and Elaine have a double confession at the end of A Walk among the Tombstones that’s very moving. Matt confesses to her that he loves her and that he hates what she does for a living. She confesses to Matt that she loves him and that she no longer hooks and hasn’t hooked for more than three months. That sounds much too simple for what they actually said to each other. I guess you just had to be there.

Another writer I really like is one I just discovered, and since Block is old like me he can't live forever, I have to keep finding new authors. Coleman is the one with the Moe Prager series I drooled over in one of my blogs. He's also the one who keeps Robert B. Parker alive in the Jesse Stone series. Here are some quotes from Where It Hurts I just had to copy because of their truth and their quotability:

“When I was in school I didn’t realize that most fiction was about death and regret. About things people wished they had or hadn’t said, done or hadn’t done and how, for whatever reasons, saying or not saying, doing or not doing had buried them alive. I was already too familiar with that feeling to want to read much more about it. Lately I was sticking to nonfiction.” (p. 40)

“The air was mean and raw, the sky a patchwork of ugly gray bruises. A thin layer of cold mist covered everything. A mist that seemed not so much to fall as to just be.” (p. 30)

“There is danger in the darkness. Cops knew it. Kids know it, too. We work so hard to convince them it’s silly to be afraid of the dark, but it isn’t silly at all. Fear of the dark is a matter of survival. It’s smart to be wary of the dark. We evolved as prey as much as predator. Prey knows there are eyes that can see you through the darkness. That there are claws and fangs and pointed beaks, bodies built to blanket themselves in blackness. Monsters do come out at night. I’d witnessed it for myself.” (pp. 50-51)

“His shirt was white, the collar open, but stiffly ironed so that it dared not move without permission.” (p. 90)

“Don’t tell me about photos and videos, about how we live on in those things. It’s a lie. Go get out one of your parents’ photo albums, one with their parents and grandparents in it. Look, really look carefully at all the faces of the dead. Sure, you may recognize your great-grandparents, but you might not. Even if you do, what of their relatives, what of their friends? What of the faces unrecognized? That is our future, our shared destiny: all born to be forgotten.” (p. 127)
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