I wrapped up A Wild Sheep Chase on Saturday night, ensconsed amongst kittens. Loved it to the very end. I fell asleep about 25 pages from the finish, though, and had wild nightmares about the significance of what was happening in the storyline right at that time, then awoke to find my skull resounding with one of the more unusual pseudonyms used by a regular Unfogged commentor. I can’t even remember anything about them except their pseudonym, but in the dream their pseudonym itself held some terrible portent. Odd. That’s the kind of thing A Wild Sheep Chase can do to you.

Immediately started in on Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, the first of the Marlowe novels proper that I’ve read (I’ve read a graphic novel adaptation of some of the stories, though). Here’s the thing: if I loved AWSC for its snappy dialogue, holy crap. I had no idea. Chandler makes every word count. Everyone in Marlowe’s Los Angeles is smart, everyone is direct, everyone has an angle, everyone has a snappy comeback. Yeah, the roots of every noir-detective-story comedic knock-off are there and proudly on display, but the writing simply crackles. You can hear the dialogue snapping in the breeze, and the story itself is highly entertaining.

Biggest surprise so far? That a book written in 1953 would have at least three four gay or bisexual characters in it, none of whom are condemned by the main character for being who they are. He doesn’t exactly stage a pride parade for them, but he doesn’t wax poetic about how squicky they are, either. And, as a bonus, they’re all allowed to be just as tough as anyone else in a book filled with tough types.