November 24, 2011

Smooth Criminals


At his Dead End Follies site, Benoit Lelievre recently posted the details of his Smooth Criminals challenge. It’s pretty simple really: you have a year to read a book within eight categories and write a review of it.

I haven’t been reading as much as I would like recently. Between my own writing, the day job’s stress, and Maria’s health issues, I just haven’t had much time. When I do have time, my patience for reading material is very small: if the book doesn’t grab me in some way by X number of pages then I move on. I’ve put down more books over the last several months than I can count. Hopefully, the challenge will spur me onward toward finishing something.

My choices (so far) are:

Hardboiled Classic:
I, The Jury--I know Thomas Pluck is reading this too. Great minds think alike, I guess. Honestly, mostly, it’s because I tried reading Spillane years ago and hated it. I know that’s a statement that will probably get me beat and I’m sure Max Allan Collins is probably now plotting my death somewhere, but I thought I’d try again. See if I felt the same.

Noir Classic:
Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes--the basis for the Robert Mitchum film Out of The Past. For some reason it’s sat unread on my shelf.

Prison Book:
On The Yard by Malcom Braly--I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. Originally published in 1967, Braly wrote this book while doing time in San Quentin. It’s a classic of “prison lit,” known for it’s sharp dialogue and large cast of characters.

Book Written By A Writer Who Did Time:
You Can’t Win by Jack Black--No, not that Jack Black. This one was a turn of the century thief who wrote only one book, his memoirs. It was William Burroughs’ favorite book and the stylistic inspiration for Junky.

Book With A Psychopath As Protagonist:
Blackburn by Bradley Denton--I read this years ago. I’ve been wanting to read it again to see if I still believe there are only two books worth reading about serial killers: Blackburn and Shane Stevens’ By Reason Of Insanity.

Gothic Novel:
Carmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu--the vampire classic I can’t believe I've never actually read. This one may be cheating just a little since I think it’s technically considered a novella. If so, blame Ingrid Pitt.

Classic Where The Plot Revolves Around A Crime:
Haven’t decided on this one yet. Maybe the Moonstone by Wilkie Collins?

The Why The Hell Am I Doing This To Myself Book:
Same with this category.
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