David Goodis was once called “the poet of the losers” and while I’m not 100% sure that’s 100% apt, it fits pretty well. He wrote books that take “noir” and dip it in a syrup of painful luck combined with serious sadness. Perhaps the most famous (though not the only one made into a movie by the French, who love themselves some Goodis) is Shoot the Piano Player. A fine read. But the one I’ve just finished is Black Friday (which, by the way, has nothing outside of making you question the world in common with the day after Thanksgiving), in which a guy on the run for killing his brother steals a coat, runs into some bad men, then some bad women, then cuts a guy up a feeds him into the furnace . . . and it goes downhill from there. A fine read, which at one point ends up with a lot of gin being consumed:
Charley took the bottle and began pouring the gin into a water glass. He got the glass three-quarters full. He lifted the glass to his mouth and drank the gin as though it was water. The radio was playing more bebop. It was Dizzy Gillespie again and Dizzy’s trumpet went up and up and up and way up.
–David Goodis, Black Friday