Tag Archives: Michael Caine

The Don Siegel Rule

SeigelI had to give it a name, so I called it the Don Siegel Rule.

I was watching Charley Varrick recently, the 1973 heist film directed by Siegel, starring Walter Matthau as an ex-crop duster and stunt pilot turned bank who, along with his long suffering girlfriend, Nadine, and unreliable partner, robs a small bank in New Mexico. Unbeknownst to Varrick, the bank in question is actually a front for the mob. In response, the mob sends a hit man (played by Joe Don Baker) after him.

It’s a terrific little heist film. Tough in all the right places, just enough action and suspense to keep you interested, without the kind of over the top action gimmicks similar films exhibit these days. Matthau is terrific as the hangdog loner, Varrick.

Anyway, it got me thinking. There may be bad Siegel films out there, but I haven’t seen them.

Siegel was the king of the intelligent B movie (a title he shares with directors such as Walter Hill). His films have enormous energy and pace, but they also have an economy. Watching Siegel’s films, time and again he’s been able to get above obvious budget and script limitations to tell a gripping story.

The journeyman director cut his teeth making Westerns and noirs in the late forties and early fifties, and then pretty much excelled at whatever genre he tried.… Read more

Noir Con or bust guest post #1: Heath Lowrance

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I’d be asking several US writers and bloggers I dig to guest post on Pulp Curry in the lead-up to my visit to the US to attend Noir Con in Philadelphia in early November. It’s a way of giving regular Pulp Curry readers a little taste of the crime writing scene in the US.

First up is Heath Lowrance, whose latest book City of Heretics has just come out through  Snubnose Pressthe same publisher as my debut novel Ghost Money.

City of Heretics is about an aging con named Crowe, just out of prison and back in Memphis, ready for some payback against the criminals who got him sent up. Before Crowe can enjoy his revenge he has to track down a brutal murderer cutting a swath through the city—ultimately leading Crowe to confront a bizarre secret society of serial killers masquerading as a Christian splinter-group. 

It’s not the first time Lowrance has appeared on Pulp Curry. I reviewed his debut novel The Bastard Hand on this site last year. Lowrance writes across a number of genres, including crime fiction and Westerns. He’s one of those writers who combine the knack for telling a good hard boiled with excellent writing.Read more

Crime fiction criminals

By definition, the majority of crime fiction characters are criminals or at least commit illegal and/or immoral acts. But books where the main character is a full-time professional criminal are surprisingly few and far between. Here’s a selection of some of the best.

It’s worth noting that when this post originally appeared on the Crime Fiction Lover website, readers came up with several good additions, including Andrew Vachss’s Burke, Charlie Huston’s Henry Thornton, Lawrence Block’s hitman character Keller and Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley. I had originally thought of including the James Ellroy character Dudley Smith (“Knock, knock, who’s there, Dudley Smith, so reds beware”), but he’s a bent cop so not eligible. However, Ellroy’s Pete Bondurant would definitely make the cut.

Please leave a comment if you can think of any others.

Parker by Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake)

The 24 books written between 1962 and 2010 featuring the professional thief known as Parker remain some of the best crime fiction ever written. Sixteen Parker novels appeared between 1962 and 1974. Westlake took a rest from the character until 1997, then wrote another eight Parker books.

Parker is a career criminal who steals things for a living. Get in his way on a job or try to double cross him afterwards and he’ll hurt you.… Read more