Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...
Alex Penn is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He wakes up painfully hungover, coming out of a blackout drunk. When he finally gets out of bed, he discovers his clothes are all messed up, covered in blood it would seem and, just when he thinks things might have been looking up ( not having a nosebleed counts as a win in these circumstances), he turns his head. In what I assume is an homage to the words of Julius Caesar: "I looked, I saw, I vomited."
Sorry Alexander, Penn's got you trumped now, because you, my ginger little friend, did not wake up with a bloodied, dead hooker.* (See clarification re. terminology below). Oh, and did I mention Alex Penn was fresh out of prison on a Supreme Court ruling technicality? Also, he was in prison in the first place for (you guessed it!) killing a hooker.
More bad news for Mr. Penn, the fact that you have no memory of the crime in either case courtesy of voluntary intoxication doesn't get you off in the mens rea department (especially since we're in 1940s New York, and there's not much case law for you to run with). So what’s a fella’ to do?
This wasn't Scudder-level Block for me. I tend not to be big on reading about junkies (though Alex is not one himself) - too much talk of needle marks and being "on the nod" makes my stomach lurch. But, as always, Lawrence Block is a master of the grimy noir ambiance that gets richer in his later work.
* Terminology clarification and life wisdom courtesy of one Sterling Archer: