Allan Guthrie, funnyman
I am happy to report that Allan Guthrie is no wiseass. The extended edition of his novella Kill Clock had me laughing out loud and reminded me that the author, often cited for his chilling noir, is not just good at coming up with funny lines, but is a craftsman of the comic. Here's one sample:
"Pearce grabbed the wrist and used Baldie's momentum to pull him forward. His face bounced off the roof of the car with a dull sound like a dropped mug hitting carpet.That's funny because it's 100 percent deadpan, without the slightest hint that author, narrator, or character know they are up to anything funny. The Guardian recently criticzed a BBC production of P.G. Wodehouse's Blandings stories for breaking the commandments of comedy, the first of which is: "Don't let your cast behave as if they are acting in a comedy. Wodehouse depends on all the characters taking their predicaments very seriously."
"That had to hurt.
"Pearce let go.
"Long time since he'd been behind a wheel. Hadn't had much experience before he went to jail, and since he'd come out, he'd not had the chance.
"First thing, he put on his seatbelt."
Guthrie does not need to be told this, not when he has a 5-year boy curse in amazement at protagonist Pearce's three-legged dog, or the boy's 2-year-old sister curse in imitation of her brother. And not when he has the children's mother plead for Pearce's help in terms that might be objectionable if another character applied them to her but are touching and maybe even a little heartbreaking when the she uses them about herself:
"`Doesn't help that I've spent time in psychiatric care.'
"`Why should that make any difference?'
"`I was committed, Pearce. I'm a nutjob.'
"'My head was all over the place when I was a teenager. Didn't used to have my shit together like I have now.'"I don't know about you, but I root for a character like that.
© Peter Rozovsky 2013