“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How The Key West Was Won: Part The Second

Michael Haskins (right), the Florida wing of the great Irish crime writing conspiracy, has posted the first chapter of his second novel, FREE RANGE INSTITUTION, featuring his protag from CHASIN’ THE WIND, ‘Mad’ Mick Murphy. How Irish is ‘Mad’ Mick? Erm, the answer is in the question. Anyhoo, on with the show …
Tita and I walked the short block from Key West Island Books to Duval Street, wandering between tourists as they window-shopped, drank beer from plastic cups, and ignored traffic lights. It was nice to have her back from Boston and talking to me.
  The conch-shell pink, six-story Hotel Key West filled one corner block at Duval and Fleming Streets, its color faded to a dull white. A yuppie coffee shop took up most of the street-side of the hotel’s first floor and the Chalice Room, once the hotel’s trendy restaurant and bar, had its windows covered with brown wrapping paper; it would reopen soon with a new name and menu. Key West could hold back change for only so long.
  Tita stopped to look at the clothing displays in the large windows of Excess. I wanted to get to Jack Flat’s, a half block down the street, for a late lunch.
  “I love this outfit.” She pointed at a mannequin dressed in designer jeans and white blouse.
  I turned to look and caught the window reflection of a body falling through the air like a clumsy bird, with only the traffic on a crowded street to stop it. I turned and looked, as the body crashed onto a car’s roof ….
  For the rest, clickety-click here

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