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Thursday, March 1, 2012


As someone who rarely reads short stories (except Maugham and, of course, Doyle), I just realized how damned hart it is to do short and do it well, reading 2 anthologies back to back. Some of the stories in A Case of Sherlock and D.C. Noir are OK. A few are excellent. But at least half are structurally awkward and narratively imbalanced.

Nearing the end of D.C. Noir last night, though, a story by James Grady, "The Bottom Line," just blew my mind! I have never seen anything like it! Amazing! Gosh, I've got to look him up.

It is a massive tangle of threads wound tightly into a small and perfect ball. The writing is the leanest I have ever seen (and I've seen some), reminding me a bit of James Elroy, but without the frenzy. He must be a darling with editors, for there is not one word to be cut. The coolness of his voice is in sharp contrast with the massive amount of information imparted and implied, and the neck-breaking pace of plot twists.

To unwind this knot was so dizzying that it was only this morning that I realized the story is pure noir. Pure to the trandition of James Cain, set on the Hill. The Capitol Hill.

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