The Longish Goodbye

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Sep 092013

By Reece Hirsch

When Kelli Stanley invited me to join Criminal Minds in late 2010, I was honored to join such a great bunch of writers.  Two and a half years later, many of the writers have changed, but I’m still just as honored to be part of such a talented, funny, insightful bunch.  However, I regret to say that I’ve come to the end of my run.  This is my last post at Criminal Minds (as a regular, anyway).
I’m writing a book under deadline for the first time while working full-time as an attorney and I just don’t think I can do justice to my blogging obligations here.   Thanks to Meredith, Robin, Vicki, Clare, Tracy, Catriona, Alan, Sue Ann and Gary for being such good company.  I’d also like thank the Criminal Minds Emeritus, including Kelli Stanley, Rebecca Cantrell, Michael Wiley, Joshua Corin, Shane Gericke, Hilary Davidson, Chris F. Holm and Stephen Blackmoore.  If we ever get the band back together at a Bouchercon or ThrillerFest, I’d like to buy you all a round of drinks.
Looking back on my tenure at Criminal Minds, I went back to the archives and selected these as my most silly, inane, least socially redeeming posts (and there were many to choose from):
  1. The Hulk grapples with the Proust Questionnaire (“You wouldn’t like me when I’m Ang Lee”): Proust vs. Hulk.
  1. When the weekly assignment was to write poetry, I penned my tribute in verse to Omar Little of “The Wire”.  Because, you know, man’s gotta have a code: Ballad of Omar Little.
  1. I read a New York Times Magazine article about the making of “There Will Be Blood” and learned that Paul Dano was called to Texas at the last minute to replace another actor and go head-to-head with the Method madness of Daniel Day Lewis.  I imagined what that might have been like in “There Will Be Milkshake”.  (Note to other bloggers:  this is still one of my most-viewed posts, but only because it has an often-searched catch-phrase in the headline.  Try it, I think you’ll be pleased with the results.)
  1. The 10 Things Heard in the Bar at Bouchercon, which was written during a year when I wasn’t actually able to make it to B’con, but was wishing I was there.
It’s been fun, and I will definitely be back to visit.

 Posted by at 7:01 am

A War Waged in Code

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Aug 262013

By Reece Hirsch

My protagonist Chris Bruen does not carry a man-bag per se but, like a lot of lawyers, he does carry a laptop bag that doubles as his satchel.  On the laptop are fragments of computer code and clues to the identity of the latest hacker or cybercriminal that he is pursuing on behalf of a client.  In THE ADVERSARY, the hackers that Bruen is pursuing have threatened to unleash a sophisticated computer virus on an undisclosed U.S. city in seven days.
THE ADVERSARY is inspired by the very real threats posed by the new generation of computer viruses exemplified by the so-called Stuxnet virus.  Stuxnet is a computer worm, or virus, discovered in 2010.  The Stuxnet virus was specifically designed to target the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment center, causing the delicate machines to speed up or slow down and then explode like so many expensive shrapnel bombs.
Unlike a bomb that is destroyed upon detonation, however, the code that makes up a weapon of cyberwarfare like Stuxnet remains out there in the world after it has been deployed.  Stuxnet was designed to erase itself after it achieved its purpose, but the code malfunctioned and the virus was spread via the Internet, thus bringing it to world’s attention.  THE ADVERSARY considers what might happen if the code for such a dangerous, state-sponsored virus came into the possession of black hat hackers who retooled it into a weapon of cyberterrorism that could be turned back against the U.S.
When I began writing THE ADVERSARY, I was basing my story on oft-repeated rumors that Stuxnet had been created by the US and/or Israel.  As I was finishing the book, those rumors were confirmed in a June 1, 2012 article in the New York Times in which David Sanger reported that Stuxnet was indeed part of a joint operation of the NSA and Unit 8200, its Israeli counterpart, dubbed “Olympic Games,” which was begun under President George W. Bush and expanded under President Obama.  The Times further reported that the Stuxnet virus may have set back the Iranian nuclear program by 18 months to two years.
The Lurker virus that is central to THE ADVERSARY is closed modeled on Stuxnet, including the way it operates by taking control of the programmable logic controllers (PLCs).  PLCs are digital computers that govern a vast array of mechanical functions, from manufacturing assembly lines to traffic lights to the electrical grid.
The creation of new viruses like Stuxnet has stirred a new debate about what constitutes warfare between nations.  But this is clearly not warfare in the traditional sense.  It can be conducted anonymously and by small groups of individuals.  In traditional warfare, the identity of the adversary is usually apparent, in the form of a plane dropping a bomb or an invading army.  Sophisticated, “smart-bomb” computer viruses like Stuxnet could pose threats to our critical infrastructure, like the electrical grid, chemical plants or nuclear facilities, but the barrier to entry is much lower than what is needed to develop a nuclear weapons capability.  And the enemy could be virtually anyone possessing the necessary technical expertise.

THE ADVERSARY explores the scary prospect that we may be entering a new age of cyberterrorism.  Computer viruses are no longer merely the harmless annoyances that muck up your home computer. 

 Posted by at 7:01 am

Are You Not Entertained?

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Aug 132012

By Reece Hirsch
Can you have too much sex and violence in a book?  First, let me say that I consider sex and violence two of the essential food groups of a healthy, well-balanced reading diet.  But I’d like to redirect the question a bit to consider more generally what is too much, particularly in a thriller.
It’s funny how little things stick in your head and become part of your personal vocabulary.  For example, I don’t remember where I first picked this up, probably when watching “The Compleat Beatles” or “Beatles Anthology” documentaries years ago.  When the Beatles were getting their start playing marathon, pill and booze fueled performances at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1960, the German rock bands would shout at the lads, “Mach schau!”   It means “Make show!”  Make a show for the customers. Don’t just stand there and play guitar.  Lennon’s response to this exhortation was reportedly jumping around like a gorilla on stage.
Writing a thriller, I can’t say that I’m not thinking of my potential readers and their expectations.  And in the back of my mind, I hear those heckling German rockers shouting “Mach schau!”  Think of them as an alternative universe, Teutonic Fab Four of Horst, Dieter, Ulrich and Jurgen.  Dieter is The Quiet One.  But I digress.

For thriller writers, mach schau means keeping the reader on a steady IV drip of action, violence and sex.  Don’t let the pace relent.  And just when things are falling into a rhythm (albeit a fast one), apply the shock paddles with a plot twist.

And when it works, it doesn’t feel like a formula at all and the end result is a book that is about as immersive and immediate as any reading experience you’ll ever have.  I’ll never forget the first thriller that really got its hooks into me as a teenager – William Goldman’s “Marathon Man.”
But there’s a line that can be crossed.  More than probably any other literary genre, thrillers are influenced by, and feel the pressure of, other media.  Thriller fiction often draws comparisons to hyperkinetic action movies and video games and is held to those standards of more-is-more, Joel Silver over-the-topness.  Some people think that the highest praise you can give a thriller writer is to say that their book reads like a movie.  I think good literary thrillers are a lot more than long-form screenplays.
Over the course of a novel, there are opportunities for character development, social commentary and depth-of-field that even an excellent action film can’t duplicate.   Some would say that a film like “The Hurt Locker” takes you into life-and-death moments with an immediacy that a literary thriller can’t touch, but I don’t buy that.  If a reader has come to know a character over the course of a novel and truly gotten inside his or her head, then when they face that moment of peril, it can be more riveting than anything the cineplex has to offer.
A book can put you into the headspace of a character, feeling what they’re feeling, thinking what they’re thinking, in a way that is not some poor man’s analog to a movie or video game.  It’s a particular magic trick that is only performed between the covers of a good book.  You can keep your 3-D glasses and first-person-shooter games — that’s my idea of mach schau.
 Posted by at 7:01 am

Fifty Shades of Wrong

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Jul 302012

By Reece Hirsch
British e-publisher Clandestine Classics recently announced that it will be issuing sexed-up versions of classics like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and the Sherlock Holmes stories, hoping to capture some of the readers who have made E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy a mega-seller.  There is so much wrong with this concept that I don’t know where to begin.  Does anyone want to see Watson’s man-love for Holmes portrayed as explicit scenes of, well, man-love with Holmes?
There is a note on the Clandestine Classics website that reads:  “You pay only for the words our authors have added NOT for the original content.”  What a relief to know that if this money-grabbing scheme works, the estates of those great authors will not benefit.  If this is supposed to make me like you, Clandestine Classics, it’s definitely not working.
I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey so I will resist the temptation to bash it (even though, from everything that I have heard about it, it appears to be eminently bashable).  But anyone who thinks that the E.L. James phenomenon will usher in a new era of popular erotic fiction is likely to be, well, unsatisfied, because it’s some kind of minor miracle when the term erotic fiction isn’t an oxymoron.
There is a reason why explicit scenes aren’t found in many great books, and it’s not just deference to the sexual attitudes of a time – it’s a matter of craft.  The sex scene has been the undoing of even some brilliant writers (John Updike’s queasily clinical approach comes to mind).   And after perusing some truly appalling excerpts from the new versions of Jane Eyre and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, I can confirm that the writers involved in perpetrating the new Clandestine Classics are not aspiring to the mandarin prose of Updike.
One of the few examples of an effective erotic scene that I can think of is the library sex scene between Robbie and Celia in Ian McEuen’s Atonement.  And even that walks (I was going to say straddles) a very fine line between the evocative and the cringe-inducing.
I think that Barbara Kingsolver got it just about right with her sex scene in Animal Dreams, which says it all in just four words.  The narrator decides that if the man she is with has a condom in his pocket, then it’s her lucky day.
“He did,” she writes.  “It was.”
 Posted by at 7:01 am

You Ready? Here Comes the Pain!

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Jul 162012

By Reece Hirsch

I have a confession to make.  One of my summer indulgences is that I watch Minnesota Vikings preseason games – all four of them.  And, yes, I do realize that there are few things in life as useless as an NFL preseason game.  But, then again, that’s why it qualifies as an indulgence.

I would make the case that, since the franchise was founded in 1960, the Minnesota Vikings are the most heartbreaking team in professional sports.  Sure, Red  Sox fans suffered longer, but they eventually got their payoff with a World Series victory.  Other teams have been basement-dwellers longer (see the Chicago Cubs).  But the Vikings have a special talent for reaching the very brink of championships only to self-immolate in spectacular and inventive fashion.
I offer you a few of the more emotionally devastating moments from Vikings history:
·      Super Bowl losses in 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1977.  Back then, the Vikings were in the hunt every year and it seemed inevitable that they would eventually win a Super Bowl.  Or so I thought.
·      In 1975, the Vikings lose to the Cowboys in the last seconds when Roger Staubach throws a last-second touchdown pass to Drew Pearson that introduced the “Hail Mary” pass into the lexicon.  At this point, it had become necessary to coin new terms to describe the ways in which the Vikings were losing big games.  And, yes, I do believe that Drew Pearson pushed off on Nate Wright.

·      In 1998, the Vikings lose in the NFC Championship Game in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons when Gary Anderson caps a perfect season as a kicker (not a single missed field goal or extra point) with a missed 38-yarder that would have won the game.

·      In 2009, the Vikings again lost the NFC Championship Game, again in overtime, this time to the New Orleans Saints.  For the Vikings, losing a championship game during regulation time is for amateurs.
Now when a new Vikings season approaches, Al Pacino’s immortal lines from Carlito’s Way come to mind:  “You ready?  Here comes the pain!”
But, as in any troubled relationship, things can’t be painful all the time, and the preseason games serve to lure me back.  Maybe things can be different this year.  And if they lose, it’s okay because it doesn’t count.  If they win, it’s a sign of better things to come in the regular season.  In the preseason, I can watch the new crop of rookies and mid-level free agents and delude myself into seeing glimpses of future glory.  Is it a waste of time?  Most definitely.  But I seem to take some perverse pleasure in following how the competition is proceeding for that fifth cornerback slot.  And by the fourth quarter, two-thirds of the players on the field won’t even make the final roster.  And so, despite a lifetime of experience that screams otherwise, I’m looking forward to August 10 when the Vikings kick of their preseason – in San Francisco.
My very favorite summer indulgence is reading a book.  Without interruption.  On a beach or beside a pool.  With a perspiring drink at my side.  Most of my reading is done in far too small increments, often on BART trains, which makes it harder to achieve one of my favorite sensations – getting lost in a book.  I’m not sure yet which body of water I’m going to be in front of, but I’m working on it.  I don’t know yet what I’ll be drinking (probably a mai tai, beer or margarita, depending upon location).  But I have picked out my book – Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL.  Let the summer indulgence begin.
Congratulations to this past weekend’s Thriller Award winners Stephen King, Jeff Abbott, Paul McEuen, Tim L. Williams, Jack Higgins, Ann Rule and Richard North Patterson!
And here’s a song to accompany your summer indulgence:
 Posted by at 7:01 am

The Running Man In The Suit

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Jun 182012

By Reece Hirsch

I’m going to opt to answer last week’s question — if I could no longer write the sort of books I write, what would I write instead?

I currently write what might be described as “running man in a suit” books, also known as legal thrillers.  You’ve seen the book jackets, which inevitably display the shadowy outline of a dude in a dark business suit, briefcase in hand, running.  If the guy is in so much danger, why doesn’t he drop the briefcase?  I can’t answer that question.

I suppose if I couldn’t write legal thrillers, I’d still end up writing from my experiences as a partner in a law firm.  I’d write books in which the dude in the suit takes a breather and doesn’t run so much.  I’d slow the pacing down a bit, show lawyers doing more of what they do in real life — sitting behind desks and practicing law.  I know the drama isn’t quite so heightened, but, believe me, it’s still there.

In particular, I’m fascinated by the mega-lawsuits that some large law firms handle, the kind that go on for decades like the case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Dickens’ “Bleak House.”  I can think of a few current and former colleagues who started working on a case as first-years fresh out of law school and, twenty or so years later, were still litigating the very same matter.  I find this phenomenon fascinating because over the course of a single, massively expensively, knock-down-drag-out litigation, the attorneys grow old and some die (unlike legal thrillers, by natural causes), the cultural landscape shifts, law firms rise and fall, and even the law itself is altered.  The combatants also change, as the corporations embroiled in the dispute cycle through several generations of management.  When there are hundreds of millions or billions of dollars at stake, corporations tend to fight to the bitter end, like dinosaurs tearing at each other until they disappear together into the tar pit.

I think there are a lot of interesting storytelling possibilities in that sort of mega-case because so many changes in the world at large end up getting refracted through the prism of the lawsuit.  Maybe one day I’ll write that sort of book, but I don’t think it would qualify as a legal thriller.  But if that book were to be written and published, I’m betting that it would still have that running man in the suit on its cover.

Note:  Despite my grousing, it should be noted that the cover of my novel The Insider actually did not feature the running man in the suit.  My publisher opted for the more tasteful “man in suit staring pensively out of office tower window” pictured above.

 Posted by at 7:01 am

The Law of the Dog

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Jun 042012

By Reece Hirsch
Will Connelly, the ambitious young corporate attorney who is the protagonist of my legal thriller THE INSIDER, is not a pet owner.  He’s a lonely workaholic still recovering from a bad break-up when the book opens, and he could certainly use a little companionship.  However, Will spends far too much of his time billing hours at his law firm to have a dog.
However, to paraphrase the Dos Equis man, if Will Connelly were to have a dog, then it would be Simon, the furry little guy pictured above.  I can attest that Simon, a Brussels Gryphon and occasional Criminal Minds guest blogger, makes the perfect lawyer’s dog because he demonstrates so many of the characteristics of an attorney (at least the better ones).
Powers of Persuasion.  Whenever food is involved, Simon lays down, places his chin on you and delivers the sort of sorrowful gaze usually reserved for black velvet, sad-clown paintings.  Clarence Darrow was never this convincing.

Brains.  Simon is smart enough to ring a bell when he wants to go outside and he can distinguish between the sounds associated with every type of plastic bag and container in our kitchen based upon whether it holds something that he likes to eat.
Bluster.  Sometimes when your arguments are less persuasive, a little bluster is needed to win the day.  With his fearsome bark and dead-eyed gaze (see below), Simon has backed down a herd of cattle, a family of deer, and a flock of wild turkeys.  The raccoon that he encountered gave him pause – but Simon understands what every good lawyer knows – bluster will only get you so far with a potentially rabid adversary. 

I know that in a previous post I promised to never again pimp out my dog to promote my writing, but I can see now that I will revert to my prior bad habits when desperate.  So sue me.
 Posted by at 7:01 am

Shelf Life

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May 212012

By Reece Hirsch

The most highly prized item on my bookshelf is a signed copy of the thirty-fifth anniversary edition of Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I know I’m not going out on a limb by singing the praises of Lee and “Mockingbird”; a case could be made that it’s the most well-loved American novel of the last 60 years. And like any book that has embedded itself so deeply in our culture, it finds ways to speak to a wide variety of readers in a wide variety of ways.

I’m not going to spend time here talking about the book’s obvious strengths, such as the indelible characters of Scout, Dill and Boo, or the now-underrated role it played in changing hearts and minds when the battles of the civil rights movement were still being fought. Instead, I’m going to focus on why it occupies a special place on my particular bookshelf.

I love Harper Lee’s book in part because I grew up in the South, and I can’t think of any writer who has captured the drama and boredom of growing up in a small Southern town like Lee did. My childhood was spent in places like Tallahassee and Pensacola, Florida, Kannapolis and Jacksonville, North Carolina, Decatur, Alabama, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. I wouldn’t say that any of them matched up precisely with Lee’s lightly fictionalized Maycomb, Alabama (a stand-in for Monroeville), but it’s a world that I got a glimpse of before it started disappearing.

Another reason why I love Lee’s book is that she nearly single-handedly redeemed the much-maligned legal profession with the character of Atticus Finch. In my small way, I didn’t help matters any by taking a few potshots at big law firms in my first novel “The Insider.” But for every Mickey Haller cutting deals out of the back of a Lincoln, there’s always Atticus. Sure, he’s an idealized figure, but he’s much more than a cardboard hero. The nobility in Atticus was drawn in part from real Southern lawyers of that era who took cases that nobody wanted them to take. And the conversations between single-parent Atticus and Scout are a model of tough-minded sensitivity.

Lee also fascinates, and scares the hell out of me, as a writer because she never published a second book after “Mockingbird.” Watching the excellent documentary “Hey Boo: Harper Lee and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’” I found it unnerving to see the assembled evidence of Lee’s writing career after the blockbuster success of her debut. She is quoted about the work she’s doing on the next book and how she enjoys the process of writing “perhaps even more than she should.” There are indications that she was conducting extensive research. Mark Childress cites a letter that he received from Lee that was full of the distinctive voice and wit found in “Mockingbird.” There was no question that Lee was a genuine and gifted writer with a distinctive voice. So why didn’t she write another book? If you have that kind of talent, how do you just take your chips down and walk away from the table? If you’re a true writer, how can you not write?

Perhaps she said what she had to say about her childhood and the South so well in “Mockingbird” that was there was nowhere to go with her second book. In the documentary, her sister recounts that Lee said that she felt she just couldn’t top “Mockingbird.” I hate to think that because most writers take their best shot with their first novel and write the things that they know the best and are most passionate about. It’s just that most writers aren’t as wildly successful at it as Lee.

Lee hasn’t become a recluse, but she certainly isn’t a public figure, either. The signed copy of “Mockingbird” that I own was one of those that she signed at an extremely rare book signing that she conducted in Monroeville in 1995 in celebration of the thirty-fifth anniversary edition. I picked it up through eBay as a birthday present for my wife, and it is probably the favorite volume I have on my shelves.

This past weekend, I put the final touches on my second book, and it seemed like a good time to pay my respects to Lee because, for me, she’s a reminder to never underestimate the power of the blank page. No matter how my second book is regarded or what happens to it, I’m thankful that I’ve managed to fill those blank pages a second time, and I hope that I can do it again — but I’m not about to take that for granted.

 Posted by at 3:50 pm

Remembering Walt

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May 072012

By Reece Hirsch
I’m going to go off-topic this week to say a few words about my father-in-law, Walton S. Taylor, who died on April 29 at age 91 and is being buried this week in New Iberia, Louisiana.  Known as “Dubs” or “W.S.” to his friends, he was a wonderful, big-hearted man, a Texas eccentric, and a tough guy who never felt the need to act tough.  I wouldn’t presume to sum up a life like his in a blog post, but I would like to note a few aspects of his remarkable story.
After a difficult childhood, Walt left home and struck out on his own to make a life for himself with virtually nothing at age 18, joining the Navy prior to World War II.   Two days before shipping out to serve in the Pacific, Walt married the love of his life and wife of nearly 67 years, Betty Betar Taylor, in Monterey, California.  They had met as students at Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana.  He was 23, she was 19, and they had no idea if they would ever see each other again after the wedding.  For those of us who are not members of the Greatest Generation, this sort of high drama sounds like something out of a Greer Garson movie, but Walt and Betty didn’t make a big deal about it.  They knew their story was like so many others of that time.
During the war, Walt served in naval intelligence and civil-military relations.  Like my father, who fought at Guadalcanal, he never spoke much about the actual fighting, but I loved the story of how he came home from the Pacific.  He was on Okinawa and his unit was short on provisions.  The sailors that were on board the ships anchored off Okinawa were much better provisioned.  Walt figured out a way to correct that imbalance, hiring locals to produce some authentic-looking Japanese rising-sun battle flags (complete with handwritten inscriptions in Japanese) that commanded a high price in barter with the crews of the ships.   When the war was finally over and Walt was anxiously waiting for a plane home to see his wife again, he was able to use a case of whiskey acquired with one of those flags to secure a seat on a cargo plane heading back to the States, returning home in the company of generals.
After the war, Walt and Betty lived in New Orleans from 1946 to 1953, where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service.  He had an administrative post in the office of the local postmaster and distinguished himself by committing to memory every postal route in New Orleans.  His dedication was rewarded when he was appointed a U.S. postal inspector based in Tallahassee, Florida.
Walt served for over twenty years as a postal inspector covering the jurisdictions of Florida and south Georgia.  For those of you are not familiar with the job, postal inspectors are not mailmen — they are the most unheralded badasses in U.S. law enforcement.  In those days, there were only a handful of postal inspectors and they handled federal criminal cases that included any and every crime involving the U.S. mail, from murders to kidnappings to extortion.  He carried a gun, collaborated with the FBI, and once worked undercover on an organized crime case.   My wife Kathy remembers that he never let her see the crime scene photos that he would sometimes review at home in private.
After retiring from the Postal Service, Walt worked for a few years as a Leon County Deputy Sheriff.  He supervised Ted Bundy’s custody when he was held at the Leon County Jail in Tallahassee, and spoke to him on several occasions, attempting to talk to him about the Bible.  The fact that Walt attempted to save even Ted Bundy’s soul tells you all that you need to know about the depth of his faith as a Christian.

Walt died suddenly of a heart attack, about five months after his beloved wife Betty.  He loved bad jokes, sang “Little Joe the Wrangler” to his toddlers, and intimidated the hell out of me when I first started dating his daughter.  He will be missed.

 Posted by at 7:01 am

Gotta Have A Code

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Apr 232012

By Reece Hirsch
Which TV character’s loss do I mourn?    Well, there’s Jim Rockford, Tony Soprano, Vic Mackey and the entire cast of “Northern Exposure.”  But I have to say that I’m still mourning the loss of Omar Little of “The Wire,” as portrayed by the great Michael K. Williams.
And so, partially due to an unusually hectic week and partially from sheer laziness, I’m going to reprise this tribute to Omar in verse that I posted here at Criminal Minds in January 2011:
The Ballad of Omar Little
This is the story of the outlaw Omar Little
The man, the legend, the poet, the riddle
He made his living robbing crack dealers wealthy
With a crew that was tough, well-armed and stealthy
In court, a lawyer accused Omar of exploiting the culture of drugs
Saying that robbing dealers still made him one of the thugs
Omar replied, “I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase, but we’re the same
Two different players, but it’s all in the game”
Omar loved Brandon and he didn’t care who knew
Their love was tested, and turns out it was true
Brandon was captured and tortured by Barksdale’s crew
They wanted Omar’s hideout but Brandon refused
Stringer Bell’s boys struck back at Omar
Taking a shot at him outside church from afar
They blasted away, but Omar did not go down
The only casualty was his mama’s Sunday crown
But fair is fair and right is right
And even a fool knows not to involve Omar’s mama in such a fight
If you come at the king, you best not miss
So Stringer moved to the top of Omar’s most-wanted list
In dapper Brother Mouzon Omar found an unlikely ally
Mouzon quickly concurred that Stringer must die
Omar pumped his sawed-off shotgun and Mouzon drew a bead
And when the smoke cleared, all Omar said was, “Indeed”
But you can’t wage war with everyone
If you hope to live many days in the Baltimore Sun
Like so many gunslingers before him who achieved renown
A kid trying to make a name shot Omar Little down
Omar played the game hard, but he played by his rules
He never robbed civilians like those other fools
And so, to Omar I dedicate this ode
Because, in the end, yo, man gotta have a code
 Posted by at 7:01 am