“In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in.If there were enough like him, I think the world would be a very safe place to live in, and yet not too dull to be worth living in.”--Raymond Chandler, “The Simple Art of Murder,” The Atlantic Monthly, December 1944Crime fiction should not be pretty. It can be funny—should be funny at times, appropriateness optional—it can be poignant, it can be startling. It can be upsetting, thought provoking, violent, vulgar, eloquent, erotic, instructive, eye opening, ironic, cynical, hopeful, vindictive, uplifting, or any other emotion one can think of in the context of one person taking something from another, whether it is property, virtue, or life. Links to everything I’ve written are here. Don’t go if you are offended by bad language or sometimes ambiguous outcomes. Happy endings are not required here, and absolutely no cats. None. Not even regular cats, let alone those crime-solving pains in the ass some people think are cute. Nothing wrong with people reading or writing cat mysteries. Just don’t look for any of that shit in here.What can you look for here?James M. Cain said:“I make no conscious effort to be tough, or hardboiled, or grim, or any of the things I am usually called. I merely try to write as the character would write, and I never forget that the average man, from the fields, the streets, the bars, the offices and even the gutters of his country, has acquired a vividness of speech that goes beyond anything I could invent, and that if I stick to this heritage, this logos of the American countryside, I shall attain a maximum of effectiveness with very little effort.”I can do no better than aspire to that, guided by Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing, which aren’t really rules—even he says so—but, looking back, are just how things worked out for him, which means they worked out pretty well.You can be the judge of how well these three principles are working for me. Whichever side you come down on, thanks for stopping by.
Nick Forte likes his job. His problem is the job doesn’t like him back. As his cases hit closer to home and the unexpected violence he finds wear him down, Forte is faced with an unexpected and unnecessary loss as a result of his own thoughtless action. He’s losing touch with the man he thought he was and wants to be, spiraling down toward the darker forces that are damaging him.“I'm so glad Dana King decided to continue to write these Nick Forte books... He's just really good at it, understanding which dose of the legacy to follow and what new parts to add…There are multiple twists in the end, two cool sidekicks, good action scenes and some pretty nifty Chanderlisms in this book, adding up to a perfect PI read.”--Sons of Spade blogI always think PI books are a thing of the past until I pick up one of Dana's Nick Forte novels.--Jack Getze, author of the Austin Carr series
Breaking News!!Down and Out Books will publish the Penns River in its entirety. Check back here for updates on Worst Enemies and Grind Joint to be re-released in late 2016 and the third Penns RIver book, Resurrection Mall in 2017.