Ames, from Carver to Chandler

I’ve only read the first few pages of Greg Ames’ hardboiled mystery, so I don’t know if it’ll hold up through the end, but so far it’s like his Raymond Carver homage/parody: hilarious and overblown, but somehow still touching. Or maybe I’m just a sap. Here’s an excerpt:

Late Tuesday night. I was in my office on Grant Street, slurping cold whiskey smashes and wagging my cranium to a very tasty Coltrane solo. My nostrils had finally stopped bleeding. The mousetraps were empty. Things were looking up for me, and I was back on the yum-yum juice again. I set fire to a Winston and swung my bare feet up on the desk. “Here’s to moderation,” I said.

I woke up on the floor. I was under my desk. Somebody had pulled a fast one. It was Wednesday afternoon.

Before I could even locate my cocktail shaker, a dark-haired woman in a yellow cotton sundress burst into my office. “I’m looking for Kurt Fitzroy,” she said. The door banged shut behind her. I took in the entire tableau in one bleary-eyed but professional glance. She was showing a lot of arm — I liked that. I’d always been an arm man.

Ames’ “Physical Discipline,” a much darker tale, is one of my favorite stories (scroll down) ever. I can’t believe no one has put out a collection of his short fiction.


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