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 twisted 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.