hard-boiled - \HAHRD-BOYLD\
1a : devoid of sentimentality : tough
1b : of, relating to, or being a detective story featuring a tough unsentimental protagonist and a matter-of-fact attitude towards violence
2 : hardheaded, practical
Her favorite books are the old detective novels. The heroes, dark and brooding, practical and relentless in the pursuit of justice. She spends hours under the covers imagining black toned alleyways, gun fights, and in the end, murderers behind bars and the hero at his desk, scotch or whiskey in hand.
She stole a swig of her father's whiskey once, but it burned all the way down. It made her love those PIs in her books even more. Men who drank whiskey could handle anything, bullets and fist fights included.
She inherited most of these books from the same father whose whiskey remains in the dusty liquor cabinet in the den. He wandered out the door one day and never came back, but he left these things behind at least.
When she hides away with her books she always pictures the detective as her father. Dark hair and dark eyes, a face like weathered stone and shoulders broad but hunched. He haunts the loneliest nights and most dangerous cities, making the world safer one long distance bedtime story at a time.
She knows that sometimes, in some books, the hero loses. Sometimes he dies and a killer goes free. When this happens she methodically tears out the offending pages. She'll rip them into strips and one at a time burn them away in her mother's ashtray in the middle of the night. When it's over, it's as if the ending never happened at all.
The next day, she'll find a new book to read, always certain the ending will be the right one.