Monday, December 29, 2008



He was disturbed,
still trembling, still vibrating
with the throes of the crisis,
but he was the master;
the animal was downed,
was cowed for this time,
at least.

But for all that, the brute
was there. Long dormant,
it was now at last alive,
awake. From now on he
would feel its presence continually;
would feel it tugging at its chain,
watching its opportunity.

Frank Norris
McTeague
1899

Monday, December 22, 2008



It would be fun
to cut Katsu,
to see what it felt like
to kill with a knife.
He'd already shot
somebody today;
if he strangled Kyle afterward
it would be like hitting
the murder trifecta.

Ken Bruen & Jason Starr
Slide
2007

Monday, December 15, 2008



She spoke broken, halting English,
but since I spoke Thai better
than she spoke my native tongue
we conversed in her language.
Though for the most part
we'd used body Thai,
which is something like body English
but more passionate.


William Knoles
Jade Brothel
1961

Monday, December 8, 2008


I'm not hard to hire.
All you have to do is
offer me money.

Robert Terrall
Kill Now, Pay Later
1960

Monday, December 1, 2008



I found it amazing
how many men,
when asked to supply
a photo of themselves
by a young woman
over the Internet,
responded by sending
a digital snapshot
of their penis.

Charles Ardai
Songs of Innocence
2007

Monday, November 24, 2008



Roger knew well enough
what he wanted to do,
but he wasn't certain if
he would know just how
to go about it.

In the end
that didn't matter,
however,
because Grace did.

James McKimmey
The Perfect Victim
1958

Monday, November 17, 2008



They said the leg was going
to be as good as ever,
but it wasn't.
You could see that by
the end of the first week
of practice.
I couldn't pivot and
swing fast enough to
go with the play even
when I saw it coming,
and they ran through me
like B-girls through
a sailor's bank-roll.

Charles Williams
"The Big Bite"
1956

Monday, November 10, 2008


As he took his woman,
the fire was solely his own fire
and there was the sordid and dismal feeling,
and finally the downright horrible feeling,
of being alone in the bed.

David Goodis
Cassidy's Girl
1951

Monday, November 3, 2008



The ghosts
of sad, cheap souls
live on
in sad, cheap furniture.

Ryu Murakami
In the Miso Soup
1997
(translated by Ralph McCarthy)

Monday, October 27, 2008



She was as beautiful
as only a woman
made for dirt can be.

P. J. Wolfson
Bodies Are Dust
1931

Monday, October 20, 2008



Money is no fun
to go to bed with.

Gardner F. Fox
Witness This Woman
1959

Monday, October 13, 2008



She gave me a smile
I could feel
in my hip pocket.

Raymond Chandler
Farewell, My Lovely
1940

Monday, October 6, 2008



Guards knew when the blue devils had
seized the inmates of these cages.
They couldn't eat.
And there were times, too, when
even the guards couldn't eat.

Theodore Dreiser
An American Tragedy
1925

Monday, September 29, 2008



She pulled off her brassiere and
held it aloft. There were cheers,
and she turned from one side
to the other triumphantly.
Her breasts looked enormously
distorted in the moonlight,
their hard, clean crowns gleaming
and the shadows they cast hanging down
like ugly sinister forebodings
of the ruin age would bring
to their strength, their thrust.

David Karp
Hardman
1953

Monday, September 22, 2008



If you want to know
the truth that much,
go out and commit
a crime yourself.
That's the only way
you'll ever know.

Asa Nonami
The Hunter
1996
(trans. by Juliet Winters Carpenter)

Monday, September 15, 2008



I looked down at myself.
It was like seeing
a technicolor rainbow shining
on a bushel basket full
of mangled bread dough.

Gil Brewer
The Squeeze
1955

Monday, September 8, 2008



He shook tooth powder into his mouth.
His grandmother could smell liquor
like a dry sourdough in the Klondike.

Patricia Highsmith
Strangers on a Train
1950

Monday, September 1, 2008



She leaned forward again
so quickly that
four things bobbed--
two of them earrings.

Robert Bloch
The Will to Kill
1954

Monday, August 25, 2008



He tried to hate them because
they were enjoying themselves.
He collected some hate,
aimed it, and tossed it,
then knew right away
it was just a boomerang.
There was no one to hate
but himself.

David Goodis
The Wounded and the Slain
1955

Monday, August 18, 2008



Brandy, he thought.
Actually, it was
carbolic acid.
Thus Philibert Faroux,
of Noroy, Oise,
outlived his spree by
a mere two hours.

Félix Fénéon
Novels in Three Lines
1906
(translated by Luc Sante)

Monday, August 11, 2008



I sat up at the counter and
pretended to look the menu over
but I was watching Stella.
I was never so glad
to see anybody in my life.
There was something about her
that got me.  She wasn't
all over you.  She had
that cool aloofness--
luscious figure, soft skin.
I watched her fill
two bowls of cereal.

Marty Holland
Fallen Angel
1945

Monday, August 4, 2008



It was a woman's gun,
a little pearl-handled automatic,
not as big as his hand
as he let it rest in his lap,
but there's no difference between
being killed with one of them
and with a .45 unless
it's prestige you're after.

Charles Williams
Hell Hath No Fury
1953

Monday, July 28, 2008



Morning sun stripes cell.
Five fingers feel my hard heart.
It hurts, hurts, like hell.

Charles Willeford
Miami Blues
1984

Monday, July 21, 2008


Her hair was falling over
her shoulders in snaky
curls. Her eye was all black,
and her breasts weren't drawn
up and pointing at me,
but soft, and spread out
in two big pink splotches.
She looked like the great
grandmother of every
whore in the world.
The devil got his
money's worth that night.

James M. Cain
The Postman Always Rings Twice
1934

Monday, July 14, 2008



Her voice faded off
into a sort of sad whisper,
like a mortician asking
for a down payment.

Raymond Chandler
The Little Sister
1949

Monday, July 7, 2008



He recognized the picture.
It was a snapshot,
blown up.  A picture of
Patricia that summer in Maine
when she had worn the Bikini
for the first and last time,
wearing it that once
out there on the rocks,
while they swam.  She had
large breasts.  She had been
unable to control them.

Gil Brewer
77 Rue Paradis
1954

Monday, June 30, 2008



The guy was dead
as hell.
Mickey Spillane
Vengeance Is Mine
1950

Monday, June 23, 2008


 
 Take me in some place
where I can't see them.
In away from
the open sky.
Glaring--
a thousand eyes--

Cornell Woolrich
Night Has a Thousand Eyes
1945

Monday, June 16, 2008



 Dramatics, buddy?
No, sir.  No dramatics.

God or Fate or
some mysterious force
can put the finger
on you or on me
for no good reason at all.

Martin M. Goldsmith
Detour
1939