Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Interrogation B" by Charlie Huston

Cops get the shaft more often than not. If it’s not the brass dictating some new bureaucratic regulation whose only designs is to appeal to the mayor’s office and crime statistics it’s the criminals who laugh in their faces and make cops’ lives miserable. You see it in the newspapers, on TV, and in stories. In real life, we hate reading about this kind of thing. In a book or TV show, we love it. What’s a cop supposed to do?

Well, if you name is Borden, a lady detective, you can do a lot. But first, she’s got to take grief from the skank chick that’s she’s just arrested. The chick is mouthing off with “bitch this” or “bitch that” and worse. Then there’s Daws, the prick fellow detective, a male, who wears designer clothes in a way that she, as a female detective, could never get away with. Pisses Borden off. And all she wants to do is fill out the BS form with information from the chick. The chick literally spits on Daws twice, once on his shoe and once on his crotch. He’s pissed, especially since they are $200 pants. Daws wants Borden to let him have five minutes alone with the chick, teach her some manners. Borden defers and tells Daws to go get cleaned up. He leaves, grumbling the entire time.

Then Borden does her thing. You’re just going to have to read it.

In the second section, Daws, Borden, and some other cops are playing poker and Borden ruminates on what she did to The Bitch, as she thinks of the skanky chick. Borden makes an interesting point about the value of life. Oh, and stay until the last line.

This is my first Charlie Huston story and it’s the first time I’ve read a story with its unique format. There are no quotation marks. Every bit of dialogue is prefaced by an em dash. As such, there are no “he said” or “she said” bits of prose either. That’s a good thing when reading this story. The streamlined prose makes the reading zip along. This style also avoids many adverbs, letting the dialogue or the action give you context. This is black-and-white storytelling. There is no gray. Cool stuff.

"Interrogation B" by Charlie Huston, published in A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press).

Note: it's ironic that I'm reviewing stories from this book on Wednesdays and not as a whole because this anthology is so good. Kinda makes me think I should have done that. However, this way, I can give the stories more attention. I'm basically picking stories at random and none have failed to entertain. David Cranmer, over at The Education of a Pulp Writer, commented on Busted Flush Press's new blog that he's reading A Hell of a Woman. I suspect David will write about this anthology when he's done. Look for it.

1 comment:

Chris said...

When I saw "Interrogation" and the name "Charlie," I thought it was going to be a music review of some Charlie Parker disc. "Interrogation" sounds like a Charlie Parker tune, doesn't it? :)