Thursday, October 25, 2012

"The Twenty-Year Death" by Ariel S. Winter

Hard Case Crime, 2012

I remember reading that you found a child in a cage, and that there were other small cages next to it . . . And that he had dug a pit in his basement where he would force the children to fight each other if they wanted to be fed . . . An image like that stays with you.  I still have nightmares about it, and that’s just from reading the stories. Is it true?

The Twenty-Year Death has been reviewed high and low on the interwebs, so I won’t belabor the basic details.  Suffice to say it consists of three loosely connected novellas, each set in a different decade and each written in the style of a crime fiction master from each respective decade. 

The first novella, Malvineau Prison, is set in the 1930s.  Police detective Pelleter travels to Verargent, a small town near Malvineau Prison to visit with a Hannibal Lecter like serial killer of children that Pelleter busted some years before.  He quickly gets sucked into the investigation of a recent murder in Verargent and the disappearance of the young French wife of an American writer.  It is the writer, Shem Rosenkrantz, and his wife, Clotilde, that provide the connection between the three novellas. 

I enjoyed Malvineau Prison, but it didn’t captivate me and it took me some time to get through it.  I chalk this up to personal taste.  The writing and story are nothing to quibble with.  The story is a police procedural and differs somewhat in tone from most of the hardboiled material that is typical of Hard Case Crime.  I certainly found myself more and more drawn in as things progressed and I was left motoring along and eager to start the second novella, The Falling Star.

Then he moved his lips as though tasting something, and said, “This is a crap job I have for you, I just want to say that up front. It’s a crap job, but the money’s good and easy and I need someone I can trust.”

The Falling Star is set in the 1940s and finds private eye Dennis Foster taking on a suspiciously simple job watching a big movie studio’s star, Clotilde Rosenkrantz, now known as Chloe Rose.  Foster knows right off that not only is the job crap, but the premise on which he was hired is crap.  He refuses to sit back and take an easy paycheck.  Like any good hardboiled private eye, he quickly follows his nose into trouble.   

This middle novella apes Chandler, of course, and I loved every word of it.  As other reviewers have noted, it’s not at all a stretch to say that nobody has imitated a Marlowe-style detective novel better than Winter does with The Falling Star.  Winter pays uncanny homage to Chandler’s style and adds little flourishes that pull you right into 1940's L.A., or "S.A." in this case.  He also wisely avoids attempts to completely imitate Chandler and write what would be unworthy and distracting “Chandlerisms”; those off-the-wall metaphors that nobody but Chandler can really pull off.  

By the time I finished The Falling Star I was hooked deep and cruising along at racing speeds, ready for the rocket-ride of the last novella, Police at the Funeral.

The elevator came, the bell dinged like the end of a round, and I watched them get on. Just before the doors closed, they turned, and Joseph gave me a withering look of pure hatred, a look that hurt more than any words could have, used to, as my years of drunkenness had made me, declarations of disgust, pathetic amusement, consternation, pity, and sadness.  I didn’t think I’d ever be able to pick up my feet to walk a single step. And my empty stomach was much too hollow.

Shem Rosenkrantz has returned to his hometown to attend the reading of his ex-wife’s will.  His life is a shambles and he is desperate for cash.  The only bright spot is that he has managed to stay straight and on the wagon for a while.  Shem gets nothing from the estate.  A traumatic encounter with his son and the wrath of his trashy girlfriend leads Shem to the hotel bar . . . let the Jim Thompson inspired madness begin. 

Police at the Funeral is the perfect finish to the loosely connected stories that have been steadily building steam from Malvineau Prison on.  It is a harrowing lunatic ride to a head on collision and black conclusion.

Here is a great interview with Mr. Winter.


  1. Movies and the reviews will really make a good support to entertain. But in case reviews need to care more for make others entertain.For that choose the best service from experts.
    dissertation writing help

  2. provide enlightenment and useful knowledge for the visitors always continue to make the article a reference we all jaket kulit asli ....thank you LOL

  3. listen to every article published give a new experience for me thanks produsen jaket kulit

  4. a new experience for me to come here and always successful then admin tozca

  5. Personally I totally agree with author opinion about this subject and I think that it would be really interesting to create such discussion with other this website visitors. essay writers

  6. The first thing is to listen to the meaning of the article and the purpose of which here is very attractive thanks admin jaket kulit pria

  7. add insight into a broad and obtain useful informations and I bookmarks thanks admin jual jaket kulit visit back my website

  8. of the many this blogs I visit this blog recently that I think is interesting and good at reading and sharing the article jaket kulit sukaregang thanks admin visit back

  9. many places to add useful knowledge for me, such as a visit to this website thank you admin..jaket kulit murah visit my website

  10. Her much information visit here to add insight to me then give useful for everyone. a visit back in jual jaket kulit asli ...thank you

  11. hello admin, be a reflection and a lot of knowledge to visit this blog and interesting to read thanks admin, my site can visit jaket kulit garut much koleksi leather jacket.

  12. I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again..
    starfall games | nick jr | minecraft games | barney

  13. Thanks for publishing your article " the twenty year death " It is very interesting and awesome post . please keep continue such posting .Cheap dissertation writing services

  14. This blog is so nice to me. I will continue to come here again and again. Visit my link as well. Good luck
    obat aborsi
    cara menggugurkan kandungan

  15. I found lots of interesting information here.Great work
    Thanks for the share loved reading the article, please do share more like this wiht us .
    juegos gratis | juegos de futbol

  16. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job Cara Menjadi Hacker

  17. Master SEO Indonesia
    sebagai strategi pemasaran Internet, SEO mempertimbangkan bagaimana mesin pencari bekerja, apa yang dicari orang, istilah yang sebenarnya

    penelusuran atau kata kunci yang diketik ke dalam mesin pencari dan yang mesin pencari lebih disukai oleh pemirsa yang ditargetkan mereka.

    Mengoptimalkan situs web mungkin melibatkan mengedit isinya, HTML dan coding yang terkait untuk meningkatkan relevansi kata kunci spesifik

    dan untuk menghilangkan hambatan bagi kegiatan pengindeksan mesin pencari.

  18. I was working and suddenly I visits your site frequently and recommended it to me to read also. The writing style is superior and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

    subway surf  | cat mario 4  |launcher

  19. Stress when used as a term in vocabulary does not seem dangerous but when we take into account the long term consequences of ‘stress’ you can see it takes a toll on your mental health and overall well-being. Gurgaon escorts have done a great deal in not only entertaining guests who come to this city but also in taking the stress factor out of their daily life. Escorts in Gurgaon

  20. As I started working to provide students dissertation writing help, I often have no time to read the novels. However, reading your post, I am well inspired to read this one novel.

  21. great article, I was very impressed about it, wish you would have stayed next share
    Papa Louie 2

    Run 3 | Stick Run 2 |friv4school | girls go games
    unblocked games | Potty Racers 3

  22. The most ideal approach to have great composition aptitudes is to pick a subject that interests you, particularly as an amateur author. More experienced or expert scholars can expound on things that don't intrigue them and still be compelling in light of the fact that they have idealized their written work system. When you pick a subject of intrigue you then thin it down to something that you can expound on with some kind of insight. Great composition aptitudes run over in a composed work as something that was picked on the grounds that the individual knows about the subject and looked into it, offered thought to the subject and ready to express the subject in composed dialect reasonable for the peruser. In the event that one uses great written work abilities then data about the subject is introduced in a consistent and successful way Obviously language structure, spelling and right accentuation is likewise some portion of good written work abilities

  23. The US Open: You need to know the US Open Golf Championship will be the 117th US Open Golf 2017, US Open Schedule to be played June 15–18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, northwest of Milwaukee. For so many years, US Open Live everyone knew what to expect US Open Golf Live and US Open Live Stream. For the second time in three years, the 2017 US Open Golf is headed to a course that has never hosted a major. It will be the first US Golf Open in 25 years that doesn't have the names Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson among the starting times US Golf Open 2017. Woods is missing all the majors for the second straight year because of a fourth back surgery, which was a month before his DUI arrest in Florida 2017 US Open Golf Live. Mickelson US Open Golf Live Stream, with a record six runner-up finishes in the only major he hasn't won, said he plans to skip because his daughter's high school graduation is the same day as the opening round. US Open TV Coverage and US Open 2017 Results

    US Open Golf 2017
    US Open Golf 2017 Live
    US Open Golf 2017 Live Stream

    US Open Championship
    US Open Championship Live
    US Open Championship 2017