Monday, 23 July 2012


There are so many aspects to America that make for great material in entertainment - prisons, mobsters, barflies, boxing, petty-criminals, jazz, private-investigators - not to mention the melting-pot that is New York.

Dirty Words (US) is something of a melting-pot too, and it's great to have all the themes mentioned and more besides touched on in the one collection.

Todd Robinson certainly doesn't short-change the buyers of his book.  Each story is really substantial (and there are 11 of them altogether).  Better still, he delivers tales skillfully, playing around with ideas and telling them in an almost conversational way; imagine taking a long bus-ride and sitting next to Ed Bunker (I know Ed's dead, Baby - imagine)  and how fully entertained you'd be and now you're on the mark for what you'll find in Dirty Words.

The voices of the stories always flows.  The characters are superbly drawn.  The themes seem familiar, but the way Robinson approaches them, you'll never know what's coming; in a way he's pulling a scam of his own every time he takes us on a journey and he's always clever enough to stay at least one step ahead.

The dialogue is exceptional.  There's one point where part of a conversation is in Italian.  My Italian is non-existent, but I understood the meaning and appreciated the humour, not to mention the situation (a mafia boss telling his crew to drop their trousers).

There's a lot of humour in their, too.  Todd and his characters are quick and sharp with their lines and deliver with the deadpan look of a slapped fish.  You'll also find a huge amount of humour in the way things play out.  Thing is, it's all done with a grace of writing that makes it look like it's all been completely effortless, when I know that writing this good takes a huge amount of graft.

I'd love to hear that someone of the ilk of Quentin Tarantino would get hold of this and try and roll it together and make some kind of Short Cuts.  That would be quite something to see on the screen.

Set to it.  You won't regret it (unless you have serious issues with sex, violence, swearing and illegal activity).

Big smiles.

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