In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Mad Gone Wrong? | Main | Pulp and Hardboiled Linkage »

March 02, 2008

"Sleep With the Devil"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The Wife and I just finished a superfine noir novel by a writer we'd never read before, Day Keene. It's a compact marvel with rock'em sock'em pacing, ingenious plotting, a satisfyingly cynical and embittered tone, and an inspired concept. The usual noir thing involves a normal guy who gets in over his head when he's tempted into crime. In Keene's "Sleep With the Devil," the putz is a criminal and a sociopath. Normalcy is what tempts him.

Another bit of originality that the book features: Although the lead character is a megatwisted dude, the writing isn't expressionistic, or bizarre in any way. None of that "mirroring the disordered mind" stuff here. Instead, the writing is as straightforward as can be. Despite this, the pathology of the protagonist comes across clear and clean. That may mean that Day Keene will never attain the kind of cult status held by such hyperbolic and/or quirky writers as Jim Thompson and James Ellroy. Still, woo hoo: what a fascinating reading experience Keene's calm, plain-Jane strategy makes for.

Download a copy of the book for next to nothing from this resourceful publisher. I do love a good novel that can be gotten through in one or two evenings. If someone wants to make a case for Day Keene as a neglected master, I'll certainly listen respectfully. Bill Crider introduces Day Keene here. Although Keene -- who was born Gunnar Hjerstedt, and who lived from 1904 to 1969 -- wrote dozens of novels, only a small handful are in print today. Hard Case Crime offers one of his best-known titles. I've ordered a copy.

Semi-related: A wrote an introduction to film noir, mused about neo-noir here and here, praised Jack Kelly's "Mobtown," raved about a rediscovered hardboiled French film, and tried to figure out why I didn't enjoy the movie version of "Sin City" more than I did.



posted by Michael at March 2, 2008


Wow, all this new info about one of my favorite subjects! There goes my Sunday. ... A scan of the Telegraph article on 50 crime writers shows that it does not include James M. Cain. What the f.... Hey! Aren't they the ones who published that loathsome list of the "100 best movie sound tracks" (by which these idiots meant "film scores")? The list that did not include Ben Hur or Vertigo, but did include American Graffiti? Why, yes, they are. ... Never fear, though, I will read on! Thanks Michael!

Posted by: Lester Hunt on March 2, 2008 10:36 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?