The next time you spend hours and sweat blood, all in pursuit of that perfect lede -- which eludes you nonetheless-- refer to the work of the late mystery writer James Crumley, often called one of the most influential and revered crime novelists of the post-Vietnam era. He died Tuesday.
From his obit in the Washington Post:
"Mr. Crumley published 11 books, the best-known of which was 'The Last Good Kiss' (1978), whose opening line has been widely called the best in crime fiction: 'When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonora, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.'
"That line, he said, took him eight years to write. ..."