February 17, 2015

Cocktail Talk: Crawl Out of that Coffin!

league-greatful-deadI’ve had four different Day Keene Cocktail Talk posts – that’s nowhere near enough! C’mon me. Seriously. My appreciation, no, obsession with Mr. Keene and his pulptasticness is certainly not going down to a simmer any time soon. This is why it’s so swell that Ramble House is putting out all of Mr. Keene’s stories and novellas from the Detective Pulps in the ‘40s in book collections. And there are a lot of stories, so more Day Keene for us! Though I do wish Ramble would hire a decent copyeditor. But hey, at least the stories are becoming available again. Anyway, this particular quote is from the first volume, League of the Grateful Dead and Other Stories (and yeah, that’s where the band got its name), from a story with a memorable name: Crawl Out of that Coffin!

‘The D’Andrea’s don’t live to be twenty-one,’ he told me.

While I was considering that, he motioned our waiter to the table and told him to bring whatever we were drinking and a Rum Collins for himself.

The waiter looked at the passed-out girl.

‘No. Nothing for her,’ Pierce said straight-faced. ‘Miss D’Andrea is driving.’

–Day Keene, Crawl Out of that Coffin!

May 6, 2014

Cocktail Talk: My Flesh is Sweet

my-flesh-is-sweetEvery time I find a new Day Keene book, I’m a happy man (check out past Day Keene posts). Recently, I found a reprint book that contains not one, but two Day Keene amazements – and instantly became doubly happy. Put out by Stark House, who does a bunch of other classic pulp reprints, it contains Framed in Guilt and My Flesh is Sweet. Both are worthy reads, in the fast-paced, thrilling way Mr. Keene always played out his mysteries, thrillers, and pulpy goodnesses. The quote below is from the latter book.

After the air conditioned bank, the street was like an oven. Elena blew up a lock of hair the heat had plastered to her forehead. ‘How,’ she asked, unsmiling, ‘would you like to buy me something tall and cold and filled with gin?’

–Day Keene, My Flesh is Sweet

April 16, 2013

Cocktail Talk: Dead Dolls Don’t Talk, Part II

Somehow, the other day when I was going on and on about Day Keene and how much I dig him as a writer of the pulps and pulpy and mysteries and noirs and their ilk, and dropped down a Martini quote from the fine once-fit-in-your-pocket-book now part of a worthy three-novels-in-one-book collection from Stark House called Dead Dolls Don’t Talk, well, I meant to put in two quotes. And that, friends, is what’s called a long sentence. And a mistake I mean to rectify by putting in the second quote right now (cause I don’t want you to miss it. And want you to read the book. So, go on, do both).

Coe put a cigarette in his mouth and offered the package to his employer. “The hell of it is we haven’t any way of knowing for how long you may be stuck.”

Hart lit his first cigarette of the day and enjoyed it. “That’s the hell of it,” he agreed. “But if I’m not back in a couple of days you might try sending out a Saint Bernard with a keg of dry Martinis.”

–Day Keene, Dead Dolls Don’t Talk

*See all Day Keene Cocktail Talks

April 9, 2013

Cocktail Talk: Dead Dolls Don’t Talk

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

*See all Day Keene Cocktail Talks

December 3, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Naked Fury

I probably shouldn’t start off by lying, so I’m going to tell the truth (which happens at least 69.7% of the time): even if the book I’m quoting wasn’t written by Day Keene, I probably would have picked it up if I saw it in the pocket book section of the mystery section of a bookstore, cause it’s called Naked Fury. That’s tough stuff. But since it was by Day Keene, and since I’ll purchase anything by him, well, the choice was easy. Keene’s oneof  the classic (in my mind) hardboiled pulpy writers, who turned out books that slapped the pavement as hard as it needed to be slapped, usually outside of a bar that we modern folks can only dream about in our lurid dreams. Naked Fury is no exception, as it follows around a big-in-size-if-not-in-smarts party/neighborhood boss who is being set up and such around his boozing. Good stuff, I think. And the fact that I know pretty well how he feels in the below quote (even though I might sub in something for the lobster) makes me like him even more.

Morning was hot and slightly sour in Big Dan Malloy’s mouth. He lay on his back for long minutes listening to the intimate feminine splashing in the bathroom, wondering why he ever combined Champagne and Lobster Thermidor.

–Day Keene, Naked Fury


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