Monday, April 23, 2007

Aussie pulp

That hard-working Karen Chisholm at AustCrime, who reads more books and keeps more lists than you could shake a stick at, posts an especially interesting article about author Joe Blake and his resurrection of Australian pulp tradition.

The first of Blake's two novels has one of the great titles ever: Murder is Never Pretty ... Even When the Corpse Is a Blonde, and the title of the second is no slouch either: Warning Shots Last. Here's an excerpt from the latter: "You can shoot a man hard or you can shoot a man soft. Hard would have been in the guts or the nuts or the knees. Considering what he had done I shot him soft, too soft for the rabid mongrel dog he was. I shot him right in the middle of his forehead."

Blake also paints vivid nocturnal word pictures. Here's the opening of Murder is Never Pretty ... (excerpt available on Blake's Web site):

"I was cruising west along Great Eastern Highway, going nowhere in particular, waiting for the call. It was one of those nights. It was hot, the moon was full and the dregs of society were restless. Black clouds hung over the Perth hills to the east and we'd had a drizzle of rain. It was enough to bring out the smell of hot tar."
Doesn't that convey a sense of place? And isn't that one reason to read international crime fiction?

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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Anonymous Judy Clemens said...

Blake sounds fascinating, and I do love those titles! Thanks for introducing him. I'll go now and look him up...

April 24, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the comment. It's interesting that there seems to be a revival of interest in pulp fiction both in the U.S. and in Australia. Hard Case Crime harks back to booze 'n' babes detective fiction, at least in its colorful covers, and Blake does so even more explicitly, as you'll see if you browse his Web site.

April 24, 2007  
Anonymous Karen C said...

Hardworking .... LOL - don't tell my husband, he spends most of his days wondering what I'm doing :)

I'm hoping my copy of the first Joe Blake will arrive this week in which case I'm going to down tools and read it straight away. I love "pulp" because it's silly :)

April 25, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

But fun, perhaps, and what better reason is there for reading? By the way, you should check out that Judy Clemens, the first commenter on my post. She is a Mennonite and the author of a crime series with a Mennonite protagonist -- not the likeliest person one would expect to like titles like Blake's. But then, her article in Mystery Readers Journal is all about defying such expectations.

If you provide an address, I shall be happy to attest in writing to your hard work and the valuable contributions you make!

April 26, 2007  
Anonymous Karen C said...

Excellent - Thank you for the mention - I'd not heard of that series and it's been added to my get hold of list :)

April 26, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

I found out about the series from her article, which certainly makes the books seem worth looking into, so I think I will. The article, unfortunately, is not one of the ones available in the magazine's online version.

April 26, 2007  

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