Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Short Story Wednesday: HARD-BOILED

Graveyard Shift" by James Reasoner; "The Long Silence After" by Ed Gorman

Browsing in the Dawn Treader bookstore in Ann Arbor in January, 2009 I grabbed a book from the shelves entitled HARD-BOILED. It was an anthology published in 1995, edited by Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian, and published by Oxford University Press. I took it home and was delighted to find stories by two friends, but that isn't why I'm choosing these two stories today.

Although the stories are quite different, they share a theme: men attempting to redress the loss of a wife through criminal action. Though the outcomes are different, both stories are rich in atmosphere, tension, and character and a quality I love: uxoriousness. They rise above many short stories that depend almost totally on plot. Within a few pages, we know these men---or think we do. I highly recommend both stories as primers on how to write a short story as well as stories to be enjoyed. 

Casual Debris

George Kelley 

Jerry House 

Todd Mason 

Steve Lewis 

Kevin Tipple 



Margot Kinberg said...

I'm not surprised you rated the Ed Gorman so well, Patti. There some authors who truly have mastered the short story.

Jerry House said...

Ceretinaly one of the best anthologies of its type ever published. Placing James and Ed alongside such authors as Hammett, Chandler, Cain, Ross (as well as John D.) McDonald, Ellroy, McBain, Leonard, Block, and Jim Thompson only emphasises how great their writing is and how devastatingly underrated both authors are.

Todd Mason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Mason said...

Except by those who were in the know then and still, Jerry. But, yes. Another natural, given the shared theme of uxory in the two by our friends via our electronic interactions, would've been Bill Crider...not to slight anyone else for their love of their spouse nor their ability to fit into an elite volume of Hardboiled writing.

It is a great book. I didn't have any serious contact with anyone in the volume, I think, when I picked it up when new, but had met Marcia Muller, very briefly, and Lawrence Block even more briefly without much if any conversation, through a bookstore job.

Casual Debris said...

I do have this one, also picked up second hand some years ago, and it sits luxuriously among my many unread anthologies.

I have a post again this week:


Jeff Meyerson said...

Good choice, good stories, good anthology. I'm not going to go back and see if I can find when I read it. But I definitely did read it.

Just finished Lore Segal's LADIES' LUNCH and Other Stories, and I'm reading her earlier stories in THE JOURNAL I DID NOT KEEP, a collection of stories, essays and other non fiction. Segal was part of the Kindertransport, sent from Vienna to London in 1938, where she grew up in foster homes for years, eventually reuniting with her family and coming here. Some of the stories seem at least partly autobiographical, with a group of elderly ladies getting together monthly for lunch. "Pneumonia Chronicles" takes place during the pandemic, where the 92 year old narrator, negative for Covid, is hospitalized with pneumonia, going through a series of roommates in her two week stay. Like most of her stories, this is short, which I appreciate. I like her spare storytelling style.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sounds great, Jeff. Will look for it.

Casual Debris said...

The link to Kevin's post is corrupt--looks like the webpage was doubled up. Correct link should be:

Jeff Meyerson said...

One more from THE JOURNAL I DID NOT KEEP: "Noah's Daughter." She begins with the question: why do the men in the Bible have names - i this case, Noah, Shem, Ham, etc. - but the women are "Noah's wife" and "Noah's daughter" and the sons' wives, etc. Noah's daughter is trying to compose a memo to God suggesting that maybe the coming Flood is not such a good idea.

Todd Mason said...

Jerry's link is still "colonized" by Tracy's.

TracyK said...

I will have to read more stories in this book soon. I think I have only read one story from the book so far.

Todd Mason said...

Jackie Kashian coming to Ann Arbor: