Day Keene is one of my favorite pulp-ateers. And by that I don’t mean someone who does puppet shows with puppets made of fruit. Though that would be, um, interesting, too. No, I mean one of the writers who wrote in the middle of last century, and who wrote books that usually fit in your pocket and stories in magazine with vaguely lurid names. Both genres tended to be about crimes, criminal, down-on-their luckers, drinkers, back-alley brawlers, just-in-troublers, and anyone who’s run into, or looked for, trouble. Day Keene wrote a whole giant bar full of tales featuring those kind of folks, with tight plots that keep you on the edge and wondering how it’ll all end in a manner that’s not quite bleak, but close enough to call out to bleak without a raised voice. Anywho, his characters usually need a stiff drink, and Dead Dolls Don’t Talk (which is part of an amazing collection of three Day Keene novels reprinted by Stark House) isn’t any different. As this quote shows us:
As he sipped his second drink Hart gave the girl her due. Peggy made good Martinis, albeit they were a trifle strong and she served them in Old-fashioned glasses. The date, if it could be called that, was proceeding according to pattern. Peggy had made the usual announcement that she wanted to change into something cooler and more comfortable. However, instead of donning the usual filmy negligee, she’d put on a smart red shantung coolie coat that ended halfway down her thighs, creating the illusion that there was nothing by flesh and girl under the provocative garment.
—Dead Dolls Don’t Talk, Day Keene
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