Deal Me In, Week 21 ~ “Blood Doesn’t Come Out”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Blood Doesn’t Come Out” by Michael Crichton

Card picked: Jack of Clubs

From: McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, edited by Michael Chabon

Thoughts: Thrilling Tales have not been so thrilling lately…

This is the semi-hard-boiled noir-ish story of Los Angeles private detective Ray Chambers. Ray isn’t having a good day. He’s screwed up his current investigation, his car payment is late, and his actress girlfriend Janis has left him. Janis’s main accusation is that Ray is stuck in the past. She can’t even move the photo of Ray’s mother on the piano without Ray getting annoyed. Thing is, Ray doesn’t even like his abusive mother. She’s been in a home for a few years, but maybe she still holds sway over Ray’s life. Ray decides to do something about that.

Ray isn’t a sympathetic character or even an interesting character. His life doesn’t seem *that* bad and he doesn’t really blame his screw-ups on his mother’s attitude toward him. As a reader, we see that she’s always been an abusive alcoholic, but we’re only given a one day look into Ray’s life (one morning, really) and the incidents feel singular. These isn’t much of a build-up to a life gone wrong.

About the Author: In light of the 1990 blockbuster novel Jurassic Park, it’s easy to forget that Michael Crichton published his first novel in 1966 (under a pseudonym). In light of this short story, I think longer works with a good dollop of science and technology probably suit him better than semi-hard-boiled noir-ish private detective character studies.

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2 thoughts on “Deal Me In, Week 21 ~ “Blood Doesn’t Come Out”

  1. I typically really like Crichton’s books, so I’m sad to hear that his short story wasn’t so good! I’m not sure short stories are something I want to invest much time in because I feel as though many authors struggle to flesh out a story well enough in this format.

    1. There are some authors who really are masters of the form and can pack a lot of story into few words. Hmm… Maybe I should write a “best of” post.

      Currently, I’m dipping into two sort of celebrity theme anthologies. They include authors who may or may not usually write short stories but write in the given genre. The results are mixed.

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