he protagonists of
' short stories are dissipated schemers of bad intent, men and women who dodge death, sweat alcohol, and dream of drugs, sex, and money. And the stories are kind of fun, mostly because the characters never pretend to be anything they're not. It helps that Woods has chops and the imagination to make potentially stale descriptions fresh. A few examples:
"Walberg squinted to make out the details. It’s a naked woman, he thought. A stark naked woman. Her round white buttocks rolling from side to side recalled the hump of Ahab’s famous whale. Or something less profound."
"He spent the day wandering the streets of Puerto Greenberg. The place was falling apart. Parallel and perpendicular had ceased to exist."
Hard-boiled crime writing is full of descriptions of run-down towns. "Parallel and perpendicular had ceased to exist" is one of the better ones.
"A toothless Chihuahua ..."
That combination of words alone would make Woods worthy of note.
"Caught by the wind, the money inside the suitcase, all US $4 million of it, spiraled upward and green-parrot-like swooped into the jungle.
"I pulled up short and watched the final gust of greenbacks flap over the line of palmettos and coco palms twenty yards south of the runway. Then I blanked out for an instant.
"Of course, this was all planned. I had twelve guys in the fallow rice paddy on the other side of the palm and palmetto windbreak scooping the greenbacks out of the air with butterfly nets. Estimated loss: maybe a hundred thou."
"Tony with a look of complete and utter surprise on his winsome face. Tony dead as a day-old scone."
"Dead as a day-old scone" is almost as good as "toothless Chihuahua"
Jonathan Woods and his tropical-weight suit will be part of my "Goodnight, My Angel: Hard-Boiled, Noir, and the Reader's Love Affair With Both" panel at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany on Friday, Sept. 20, at 10:20 a.m.
© Peter Rozovsky 2013
Labels: Bouchercon, Bouchercon 2013, conventions, Jonathan Woods