And what the hell do you mean by “hard-boiled,” for that matter?

Sadly, the original content for this page has gone missing. It featured, of course, some of the pithiest and most clever definitions of “hard-boiled” ever committed to the web by some of the best brains in the genre. The search continues, but in the mean time, here’s the best example of hard-boiled writing I could find. If you can find a better one, let me know…

“Keep coming, I said, “and I’ll put you down”

“Try it.” He took another step, crouching a little. “I can still get you with slugs in me.”

“Not where I’ll put them.” I was wordy, trying to talk him into waiting till the others came up. I didn’t want to have to kill him. We could have done that from the taxi. “I’m no Annie Oakley, but if I can’t pop your kneecaps with two shots from this distance, you’re welcome to me. And if you think smashed kneecaps are a lot of fun, give it a whirl.”

“Hell with that,” he said and charged.

I shot his right knee.

He lurched toward me.

I shot his left knee.

He tumbled down.

“You would have it,” I complained.

He rwisted around, and with his arms pushed himself into a sitting position facing me.

“I didn’t think you had sense enough to do it,” he said through his teeth.

from “Fly Paper” by Dashiell Hammett,
featuring The Continental Op.

Oh! Here’s something else:

“From our prisons to our ghettos, from our boardrooms to the Oval Office, from gangsta rap to the Patriot Act, America is a hardboiled nation. To have faith is to be a fool. To expect justice is to expect tyranny. To rally round the flag is to support the torture of human beings while reading our children the Constitution and watching sitcoms about cranky old white men and their beautiful, young and scantily clad wives – and girlfriends.”

from “Hardboiled” by Walter Mosley
Included in A New Literary History of America
by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors

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