One to Count Cadence

credit: Michelle Gallach

If you’re attuned to such information, you’ve probably already heard the news that James Crumley–the hard-nosed, soft-sided, two-fisted, open-armed author/cult icon whose novels are routinely cited by many of today’s top writers in and out of crime fiction circles–has died at age 68 in Missoula, Montana.

I once overheard an exchange between Crumley and a fan. The fan, clearly overwhelmed to be meeting Crumley in his legendary environment–a bar–thanked the man somewhat breathlessly for one of the books he’d written. “Thanks,” Crumley said, gruff yet warm. “It was just as goddamned hard to write as all the others.” Then he patted her on the back of the hand and she floated away.  

If you’ve never read Crumley, look up The Last Good Kiss, or The Wrong Case, and give them a try. Tonight, I plan to sit down with Dancing Bear, which has been too far down my reading stack for too long.


4 responses to “One to Count Cadence

  1. Yup. It’s a loss. When I found the “The Last Good Kiss” at a Borders awhile back, I had never seen a mystery/crime book blurbed by Rolling Stone before. Kind of a silly reason to buy a book from a guy I had never heard of before, but I read that first line. That first line I had never heard of, but man, what a line. It sealed the deal. My only regret is that I didn’t find out about him sooner. I’m gonna go find a dog to drink with.

  2. When I met Crumley at the LA Times Book Festival a few years ago when he was up for the book prize in crime , I told him what a big influence he’d been to me. He looked at me kinda strangely and said, “You any good?”

    And I said, “I’m not terrible.”

    And he said, “All right, then I approve. Now why don’t we get something to drink?”

    Made my year.

  3. Pingback: R. i. P. James Crumley « Kriminalakte

  4. But I had a special feeling for Crumley;as a vietnam grunt who drank too much and thought too much and repossessed cars in Birmingham,Alabama in the early ’70’s and enjoyed the Caddilac Cafe at five points south.I was an English major once and i simply loved reading his stories and hated it when they ended.My old man,a WW2 grunt,would have appreciated the old Army prayer,”Fuck ’em,fuck ’em all but nine,six for pallbearers,two for roadguards and one to count cadence.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s