Dalling was frank almost to the point of fruitiness. Starting from the assumption that no man could like him in any case, he said, he figured he might as well be himself. He had nothing to lose." -- The Way Some People Die (1951)Resonates with a quotation I've always liked but have never been able to place: "He doesn't have to act cool. He is cool."
"Some of my colleagues think that The Way Some People Die is the best of my twenty books." -- Ross Macdonald.UPDATE: One reason this one is refreshing is its comparatively gritty tone. The settings are worlds away from the invariable milieu of brittle Santa Barbara brahmins, people who have combed everything unruly out of their existence, which can be a tad monotonous even in Macdonald's most admired novels. In THWSPD Archer spends a fair amount of time digging through skid row looking for a runaway, recording the details of the lives of drug addicts and "dipsos." These chapters have the local color, time capsule interest of some crime films shot in LA in the same period, such as Kiss Me Deadly.
Inside [the arena], a match was under way. A thousand or more people were watching the weekly battle between right and wrong. Right was represented by a pigeon-chested young Mediterranean type, covered back and front with a heavy coat of black hair. Wrong was an elderly Slav with a round bald spot like a tonsure and a bushy read beard by way of compensation. His belly was large and pendulous, shaped like a tear about to fall. The belly and the beard made him a villain.Reading this one for the first time, rather than re-reading The Chill (as great as it is) for the third or fourth, could be the pulp fiction equivilent of getting out more.