Monthly Archives: June 2019

Nick Carraway, P.I.

Is The Great Gatsby the forerunner of the modern crime novel?

In my younger years, my father gave me some advice  — wait, that wasn’t me.

Let’s try again: In my younger years, I read The Great Gatsby twice. Once in high school, again in college, sprinting through its nine economically-written chapters so I could write the obligatory paper on “Car Culture and the American Dream in Gatsby.” I didn’t slow down to pay attention to the details, because I wanted to get back to what I really loved in those days — reading hardboiled crime novels. Which is funny, because had I paid attention, I would have seen that Gatsby is, in all but structure, a hardboiled novel. The literary techniques that turn up again and again in noir – a detached narrator, a temporary love interest, and great big pile of plot coincidences – can all clearly be seen in ‘Gatsby.’

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The Field of Flowers

This is a short story which I never succeeded in placing, written approximately a year before I wrote The 37th Hour. At the time, I thought I might write crime fiction with a subtle supernatural aspect, or crime/horror crossover novels. That’s reflected in the themes you’ll find here.

red and yellow poppies

His skin was the color of eggshells.  Of paper.  He’d been exsanguinated.

_________

The call came in around 6:45 a.m.  A runner found the body.  Joggers find so many things for us in law enforcement.  Them and hikers. 

The body of a young white male, the report said, seen in the blackberry bushes that overran a slope leading down to a creek.  The first patrol officer on the scene didn’t disturb anything, just took one good look and called for a detective and a crime-scene unit.  We later realized that his assiduousness nearly cost the victim his life.

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