Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes -- Lawrence Block

Back in the 1950s, the authors at Gold Medal Books used just about every variation on the James M. Cain themes of lust, greed, and murder that they could think of.  Lawrence Block was published by Gold Medal starting around 1960, and at the same time he was writing "mid-century erotica" under various names for various imprints.  

Now imagine what would happen if Block decided to write one of those Gold Medal novels at the present time and to incorporate all the sex of one of the works of mid-century erotica but make it as explicit as the current century allows.  And to provide a twist that Gold Medal didn't.  That will give you some idea of what's going on in The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes.

The setting is classic: a sleepy Florida town.  Doak Miller, a retired NYC cop, moves there.  He hasn't had a bad life, but he's always felt that something was missing.  He has a fantasy about finding the one woman, the perfect one for him.  And sure enough,  he does.  There's just one problem.  She's looking for someone to kill her husband.  And Doak Miller is just the man to do it.

Miller doesn't mind killing the guy, who's a terrible person, at least according to his wife.  Miller watches Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, so he's well aware of how the story is supposed to turn out.  Will that stop him?

I've already mentioned that there's a lot of explicit sex in this book, and I should add that there's some explicit violence, too.  I'm not going to tell you how it all turns out.

What I will tell you is that this book isn't noir by my definition, but it might be by yours.  I'll add that Block is not the kind of writer who's going to give you what you expect.  He's way too good for that.

[THE FOLLOWING MIGHT BE MILDLY SPOILERY, SO I ADVISE YOU TO SKIP IT.]  The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes is a terrific variation on themes you might be familiar with, and it's both surprising and shocking.   The ending provides a genuine chill.  I wouldn't hand this book to my maiden aunt in Dubuque, if I had a maiden aunt in Dubuque, but for everybody else it's top-of-the-line entertainment.

You Know You Want To

Listen to country songs about Bigfoot (c.1970) 

Song of the Day


I've Visited One of Them Twice

10 Gorgeous American Castles You Should Visit

Slideshow alert.

Today's Vintage Ad

Peru Update

How Peru is using drones to protect Machu Picchu and other archaeological sites.

Marjorie Lee (Marion Zimmer Bradley), The Lion House, Crest, 1960

The Man Who Was Fired From The Beatles

The Man Who Was Fired From The Beatles

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

AI robot that learns new words in real-time tells human creators it will keep them in a “people zoo”

I Want to Believe!

CNN.com: Bizarre Mars photos: Signs of life, or signs the Internet has lost its mind?

The Trap of Solid Gold: "Cosmetics"

The Trap of Solid Gold: "Cosmetics"

I Miss the Old Days

The '60s at 50: September 1965: Eight-tracks in cars

19 Way Too Real Nightmares All Writers Have

19 Way Too Real Nightmares All Writers Have

Overlooked Movies -- Black Moon Rising

If you haven't seen this movie, you might not think of Tommy Lee Jones as the action hero and romantic lead type.  You might not think of him that way after you see the movie, either, but he does a pretty good job.  Besides, there's also Linda Hamilton with some great '80s hair, and she's a lot of fun.

As for the plot, stick with me now.  Jones plays a former CIA agent who's working for the government to steal a MacGuffin.  When the bad guys are closing in, he hides it in a prototype auto, the Black Moon.  A car-theft ring, of which Hamilton is the best thief and driver, steals the prototype, along with some other cars for the villainous Robert Vaughn, and it's hidden in his High-Rise Fortress of Autos.

Jones has both the MacGuffin's owner and the government after him.  Hamilton wants to get out of the car-stealing biz, and she has people after her, too.  So naturally he convinces her to help him steal the car back.

There's plenty of car-chase action here, and there's one great scene that was replicated (sort of) in a Fast and Furious movie.  Naturally Jones and Hamilton fall for each other in the course of events.

This is not a great movie, but it's fun, and the cast is tops.  Besides Jones, Hamilton, and Vaughn there are Richard Jaeckel, Keenan Wynn, William Sanderson, and Bubba Smith.  Check it out.

Black Moon Rising


Monday, August 31, 2015

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Raw Story: A Bay Area man who found a $20 bill on a street outside San Francisco International Airport used it to play the California lottery and won $1 million, a lottery spokesman said on Monday.

Chainsaw-Wielding Gipsies WBAGNFARB

Daily Mail Online: British tourists returning to Calais face more travel misery after chainsaw-wielding Gipsies block French motorway by setting fire to tyre piles

Song of the Day


Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - August 31st, 1965

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - August 31st, 1965

Today's Vintage Ad

I'll Just Watch from Where I Am

Toby Segar performs somersault on edge of Norway’s 700m high ‘Troll’s tongue’

Wayne W. Dyer, R. I. P.

Yahoo News Canada: (Reuters) - Best-selling self-help author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer has died, his family said in a post on his official Facebook account on Sunday. He was 75.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Condor Airlines flight escorted by FIGHTER JETS after row over passenger's cat   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Stanton A. Coblentz, Into Plutonian Depths, Avon, 1950

I Want to Believe!

Inside the KGB’s Super Power Division:According to the former KGB general, as the USSR reached the height of the Cold War, the regime enlisted the country’s supernaturals, its Leninist X-Men, to the Soviet cause. “Almost all the people with supernatural powers were controlled by the KGB,” Ratnikov said. “You can’t even imagine the war of brains that unfolded in the first half of the last century. I’m hardly exaggerating when I say that sometimes there were astral battles.”

Or Maybe You Didn't Know They Existed

14 cartoon movie spinoffs you forgot existed: The good, the bad and the just plain weird 

19 Jokes You'll Understand Only If You Are A Grammar Nerd

19 Jokes You'll Understand Only If You Are A Grammar Nerd  

#14 is the one that caused the problem discussed in this post.

Who Says Hollywood Is Out of Ideas?

Fox Plans A "Heavenly Dog" Remake 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wes Craven, R. I. P.

Hollywood Reporter: Wes Craven, the famed writer-director known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

Who Knew There Were Elevator Fans?

Take a Ride with the Country's Most Dedicated Elevator Tourist

Song of the Day

Dolly Parton - Power In The Blood - YouTube:

The Hunt For a 21st Century Treasure Chest

The Hunt For a 21st Century Treasure Chest 

Today's Vintage Ad

I Want to Believe!

A nap a day could save your life


Paul Ilton, The Secret of Mary Magadlene, Signet, 1956

Who Says TV Is Out of Ideas?

Houston Chronicle: Everything old is new again, so 35 years after "Urban Cowboy" became a box office hit, it is being developed into a TV show, which Variety reported earlier in the summer. And this week Fox announced that actor James Belushi has been cast to appear in the show's pilot in the part of a truck driver turned bar owner.

Unfortunately I Am Not This Collector

This rare coin is expected to fetch up to $5 million at auction: For one Texas coin collector, a dollar could be worth millions.

Oliver Sacks, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and acclaimed author who explored some of the brain’s strangest pathways in best-selling case histories like “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” using his patients’ disorders as starting points for eloquent meditations on consciousness and the human condition, died Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 82.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Oxford Comma Update

And once again Texas leads the way!

Some Parents Upset With Teacher’s Illustration Used In Lesson: The picture was used to illustrate the importance of the Oxford comma. It shows without using a comma before the word “and,” whoever is writing the sentence is calling JFK and Stalin strippers.

Look Into My Eyes . . . .

ABC News: A former Cleveland-area attorney accused of hypnotizing women for his sexual pleasure has been charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition following an investigation that began last fall.  

Hat tip to Bill Pronzini.

Vintage Treasures: The Martian Inca by Ian Watson

Vintage Treasures: The Martian Inca by Ian Watson