Oct 302014
 
The Smuggler #5: The Crystal Fortress, by Paul Petersen January, 1975  Pocket Books Perhaps proving out my theory that the Smuggler series actually had two authors, with Paul Petersen and David Oliphant trading installments, this fifth volume sort of returns to the sleazy feel of the second and third volumes, whereas the first and fourth volumes were anemic in that regard. But it’s nothing

Happy Halloween October 30, 2014

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Oct 302014
 

Happy Halloween!! My poor brother was dressed as a girl until he was old enough to complain!
But the little girl next to him, Meryl if I remember right, got dressed as a boy. 

Here we are in Philly circa 1954 and now I am in Philly 60 years later. 
Probably won't get to the old neighborhood (Mt. Airy) but Noircon should be fun.
Have a good holiday. 









Oct 302014
 
David Trevor here, wondering if any of this makes any sense, starting with the headline. Hot times? There’s a lot going on at the bookstore—new listings, reduced prices, and a 18-item auction—but there ought to be a better way to begin. I think the template’s okay. It’s certainly seasonal. But I don’t know about that headline, especially the exclamation point. (But I tried it with a period, and it looked even worse that way.)

“You write this one,” LB said. Graciously, all Lady Bountiful, like I ought to welcome the chance as an opportunity for personal growth. Right.

lenore-RHspinozaI’ll start with the auction. If I manage to time this email correctly, the auction will be live on eBay by the time you read this. The first lot goes on view at 5pm Eastern time on Wednesday, October 29, and they pop into play every ten or fifteen minutes until around 8:30. (And one item, a nice new Random House edition of The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, is already live, because I skipped a step and posted it immediately instead of setting a delayed start time. The culpa, as LB would say, is entirely mea. I mention it because the effect is that it gets hammered down a day earlier than the others, so you’ll want to pay attention to closing times. It closes Sunday afternoon. The others close Monday evening.)

EFTDfront 2And what’s in the auction? Several items from LB’s mother’s library, some of them personally inscribed to her, others identifiable as such by her address label on the flyleaf. These include Burglar and Scudder first editions, a Penzler Books Tanner hardcover, and a scarce galley of When the Sacred Ginmill Closes. We’ve also included small-press limited production—a gorgeous ASAP Press first edition of Ehrengraf For the Defense, the G&G boxed limited lettered edition of In the Midst of Death with the Martin Cruz Smith intro, and the boxed limited Dark Harvest edition of Time to Murder and Create, signed by both LB and Jonathan Kellerman. It’ll take you less time to see the 18 items for yourself than you’d spend reading an explanation from me, so I’ll stop now. Just click this link and see for yourself.

frenchstab-2Besides the auction lots, I’ve been able to add several new books to the bookstore listings, and dropped the price on some popular items. Additions include signed copies of some of LB’s foreign-language editions. A couple of years ago, when LB moved his office, we wound up discarding many boxes of books for lack of space—and we hated to do it. So I’ve put up a batch of French and Spanish and Portuguese and Italian and Chinese books and priced them at $9.99 apiece with free domestic shipping, and if they find a market I’ll post more.

Oh, here’s one you can’t have for $9.99, and isn’t it beautiful? It’s a simpchinesechipbox4-volume boxed set of the Chip Harrison series, and I’m posting a picture of one side of the box here, but you’ll want to see the Pop Art covers of the individual books in the store listing. We’ve got five of these, and my guess is they’re the only ones to be found outside of China. Our price is $39.99, and we can only ship this item to US addresses. What an great gift for someone who can read Chinese! And so what if you can’t? I’d like to have one of these myself, just to put on the shelf, and I can’t even cope with the Specials menu at the Golden Panda.

What else? A batch of ARCs, four or five new audiobooks, and a couple of boxed lots of signed paperbacks you wouldn’t know about unless you saw our Facebook posts. 8 Burglar paperbacks, 8 Scudder paperbacks—all of them signed, which makes them great stocking stuffers. (Alas, we can’t ship these large lots to addresses outside the US. Sorry!)

Did I mention that we’ve cut some prices? The most dramatic reduction—was $99.99, now $39.99—is for the UK hardcover edition of Even the Wicked. Check the listing to see what makes it special. As for what made us drop the price through the floor, well, LB realized he’d rather sell the books than have them on the shelf where he can admire them.

We’ve reduced several popular trade paperbacks as well. A Drop of the Hard Stuff is now $4.99, Hit Me and Getting Off are $9.99. Telling Lies for Fun & Profit, LB’s most popular writing book, is rare in hardcover, and we’ve been selling signed first editions for $24.99. But, see, we haven’t been selling many of them, and while the book’s scarce everywhere else, it’s not scarce in our storeroom—so I’ve just cut the price clear down to $9.99. Now that’s been our price for the paperback edition, and how can we sell them both for the same price? I asked LB, and he said to revise the paperback listing so that it’s still $9.99 but the shipping is free. So that what’s I’ve done.

When A Walk Among the Tombstones opened last month in theaters worldwide, we were able to obtain a supply of posters and lobby cards, and sold more than half of them right away. But we had a problem with the 11 x 17 lobby cards. We mailed them flat, and while most of them arrived with no trouble, a few postal employees ignored our DO NOT FOLD instructions, and when a couple of buyers complained, LB had me take the item off sale entirely. So here’s what we’re doing: We want to sell off the remaining 15 copies of the 27 x 40 poster, and if you buy one we’ll include a lobby card absolutely free; it’ll ship safely in the same square tube as the large poster. You’ll get a nice item at absolutely no cost, and we can stop wondering what to do with the damn things.

I think that’s all. It seems to me there was something else I was supposed to do, perhaps because there almost always is, but I can’t think of it and I’ve already put in too many hours today. There’s probably a better way to phrase that.) Check out the auction, check out the store listing, and get a jump on your Christmas shopping. I’ll be adding items for the next week or so, and probably cutting some more prices while I’m at it, but if you’re a frequent visitor to the store you’ll have a good chance to snap up the one-of-a-kind bargains before I can tell the rest of the world about them. Hot times at LB’s Bookstore, by Jingo!

David Trevor for

LB_logo

Oh, right, almost forgot: PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to lawbloc@gmail.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.LB’s Bookstore on eBay
LB’s Blog and Website
LB’s Facebook Fan Page
Twitter:  @LawrenceBlock

 Posted by at 4:02 am
Oct 302014
 
We are on the final leg of Traveling the Globe. 
Today we are in our nation's capital, Washington.


The Washington Legation Murders
by F. Van Wyck Mason


Back in Washington, Hugh North is on the trail of spies out to acquire the latest in American weapon technology. What he finds is murder, considerable diplomatic hanky-panky, and a skeleton that glows green. 

Washington Deceased 
by Michael Bowen


A former Senator, a convict serving time and friend of Richard Michaelson, asks for his help as he is certain he will be killed while in prison. When the suspected hitman is found dead and all evidence points to the Senator, Michaelson suspects that they have just scratched the surface of the intrigue. 
Washington Shadow
by Aly Monroe


With WWII just over, in the early autumn of 1945 Peter Cotton is sent to the States to check on the changing Intelligence services but finds a conspiracy that could change the world.
 Posted by at 3:49 am
Oct 302014
 

KEN ROTHROCK – The Deadly Welcome. Major Books, paperback original, 1976.

   No matter how obscure a book or an author may be — and I believe this one qualifies on both counts — if there’s a PI in it, I will probably read it, or at least give it an all out try.

   Rick North, who tells the story in first person, qualifies as a private detective, barely. He’s low man on the totem pole at Taber, Kline and North, an artist’s management firm based in LA, but he’s about to be booted out of the firm unless he finds out who has been threatening the life of Rory Maclaine, one of their clients and a comedian who’s just hit the big time.

   Threats are one thing, but when Maclaine collapses and dies on stage after finishing his new act, North, who used to be a comedian himself until he found his career going nowhere, now finds he must solve the case, or else.

   After a slightly shaky start, the tale that follows is solid enough, but a clutter of too any characters, all of whom seem to be acting individually in various and sundry ways, slow the story down to a near crawl around the two-thirds point. It has to be hard, in my opinion, for a new writer to maintain his (or her) momentum for the entirety of a full-length novel, no matter what kind of twist you plan on ending it with. And so it is here.

   As for the author, Al Hubin in Crime Fiction IV, says that Ken Rothrock is probably Harley Kent Rothrock (1939-1999), but Google reveals no more. This was his only work of detective fiction, a good effort, but cliched. Maybe if North had been better at a quip (he isn’t), the ride would have been a little less bumpy.

 Posted by at 1:44 am
Oct 302014
 
Poster of the movie The Money Trap.jpg


Lionel White's The Money Trap-Glenn Ford & Rita Hayworth
(from an older issue of the Film Noir Sentinel)


This is from Vince Keenan's piece on the films that Glen Ford and Rita Hayworth made together. Vince is particularly eloquent on the subject of The Money Trap based on (for me) Lionel White's finest novel of the same name. Don Westlake always acknowledged his debt to White. But he wasn't just talking about the caper novels that helped establish Parker. Get a copy of the novel and you'll find it reads very much like early Westlake hardboiled. As Vince notes, the movie is an especially grim one. And it does have a decided pre-hippie Sixties feel to it. Death in a thousand Danish modern living rooms while consuming a few million martinis.

Vince Keenan:

Hayworth’s star faded as Ford made some of his most successful films. But
his luster had also dimmed by the time they were drawn together for one final
movie that makes the most of their rich history. The pity is hardly anyone saw it.
The Money Trap(1966), like many black-and-white films of the mid-to-late
60s, seems infused with a sense of its own futility. That only intensifies the over-
all mood of melancholy. Naturally, this Burt Kennedy-directed adaptation of a
novel by Lionel White (The Killing) haunted the bottom half of double bills before
vanishing into the ghostly realm of late-night TV.

Ford plays weary LAPD detective Joe Baron. The echo of the name Dave
Bannion from The Big Heat is apt; Joe is a wised-up Dave back on the force and
opting to coast. He’s married to a wealthy younger woman (Elke Sommer), and
that’s taking a toll. The Money Trapsurrounds him with flesh – Sommer teasingly
undressing at the edge of the frame, loads of curvy women in garter belts – all of
it fueling Joe’s fear that living off his wife’s money has diminished him as a man.
The missus begins having cash flow problems just as Joe catches the case of
a thief gunned down in front of a safe by Mob physician Joseph Cotten. Joe and
his partner (a bristling Ricardo Montalban) scheme to heist the safe’s contents
themselves. When Joe approaches the thief’s widow he’s stunned to discover that
it’s Rosalie (Hayworth), his first love from the old neighborhood. At that point The
Money Trapbecomes more than a solid crime drama. It’s transformed into a med-
itation on age and memory.

Hayworth’s ravaged, almost unrecognizable face retains its bearing. This is a
woman who was once a queen, and Ford will always regard her as one. “Tell me
how you been,” Joe implores. “I been around,” Rosalie replies. When Joe offers a
heartfelt “It’s good to see you, Rosie,” the look she gives him is shattering.
A quarrel with his wife sends Joe back to Rosalie, who’s living in the build-
ing where they first made love. They reminisce about the old days, comparing their
grim realities to the dreams of their youth. They sleep together, the weathered hunk
and the withered beauty giving each other some small bit of comfort in the long
night.

Headlines That Shouldn’t Be True But Are

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Oct 292014
 

Bible-toting ‘f*cking Christian’ throws screaming tantrum at In-N-Out
Burger
(these aren't Christians-they're Kristians)

‘So Bill Maher is the Grand Dragon of the KKK?’ MSNBC debate goes off
the rails

Florida cop goes bonkers on ‘f*cking little wise-ass 20-year-old punk’

Georgia GOP county chair accused of attempted rape after crime is
broadcast live on Skype

Georgia investigator: Lazy and violent ‘black culture’ to blame for
1-year-old boy’s shooting death
(you can bet this'll be a fair investigation)

Pat Robertson shames terminally ill woman planning suicide for
promoting liberal ‘culture of death’
(I think Pat should try assissted suicide-I know a lot of people who'd help him)

Chris Christie shrugs off detained Ebola nurse’s threat to sue:
‘Whatever. Get in line.’

Phony Trump University delivered ‘neither Donald Trump nor a
university,’ suit claims
(yeah Trump's name guarantees intellectual excellence)

Halloween ‘lynching’ display removed from on-base home at Fort Campbell
(remember now racism is dead)

6 foods you think are vegetarian but aren’t

Former Texas cop accused of raping teen girl while other officers
watched
(what a crack police force)

Comedian John Fugelsang comes up with great reasons why you shouldn’t
vote next week

Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio ordered to undergo training to stop racial
profiling
(i'm betting this asshole winds up on death row yet)

700-year-old 'zombie' virus shows climate change could unleash ancient
diseases

Ferguson’s police chief denies ouster, but he and other officials
signal possible shakeup
(what could possibly be wrong with the Ferguson police dept?)

‘Young Turks’ rip ‘moron’ Sarah Palin for comparing climate change to
eugenics

Russia offers the US help with space station after rocket explodes
(no irony here--the motor that exploded was Russian)

Fox pundit's 'American jihad' plan: 'Every tax dollar is tithing' in
our 'God-given right' to fight Arabs
(Stephen Colbert refers to this guy(Dr. Keith Ablow) as Dr. Keith A Blow Me)

This is what 10 hours of street harassment experienced by a woman looks
like

Stephen Colbert butchers the NRA for killing bill that banned the
eating of puppies and kittens
(absolutely true--in Penn. (thanks to the NRA you can still butcher and sell and eat cats and dogs)

Jon Stewart mocks Mitch McConnell: He still has to buy friends and
likeability


Oct 292014
 
Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         


DR. RENAULT’S SECRET. 20th Century Fox, 1942. J. Carrol Naish, John Shepperd, Lynne Roberts, George Zucco. Director: Harry Lachman.

“THE MASTER PLAN OF DR. FU MANCHU.” An episode of The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu. Original air date: 2 June 1956. Glen Gordon (Dr. Fu Manchu), Lester Matthews (Sir Dennis Nayland Smith) Clark Howat (Dr. John Petrie), Carla Balenda, Laurette Luez, John George. Guest Cast: Alan Dexter, Steven Geray (Mr. X). Based on characters created by Sax Rohmer. Director: William Witney.

   One of the most terrifying tasks (in a good way) that a successful horror/thriller director can do is to transport the viewer into a claustrophobic, eerie, and self-enclosed celluloid universe in which evil both lurks in the shadows and hides in plain sight. And you don’t even need an oversized budget to do it and to do it extraordinarily well.

   The trick, it would seem, is to keep the running time short, the atmosphere creepy, and the plot concerned with human physicality gone awry.

   Such is the case for two gems I watched this Halloween week.

   The first, Dr. Renault’s Secret, stars J. Carrol Naish and George Zucco in a cinematic admonition against tampering with the evolutionary demarcation that separates man from ape. Zucco portrays the eponymous Dr. Renault, an egotistical, sadistic, and downright creepy French scientist with a beautiful niece, Madeline (Lynne Roberts).

   Naish, in a chillingly sinister role, portrays Noel, Renault’s simian-like assistant, a man of unbridled rage and murderous intent. From the moment you see him lurk about on the screen, you know there’s something just so terribly not normal about this tragic character. John Sheppard rounds out the main players as Dr. Larry Forbes, Madeline Renault’s American fiancé.

   Directed by Harry Lachman, Dr. Renault’s Secret has that I-know-it-when-I see-it film noir aspect to it. Light and shadow are utilized to convey meaning, there are numerous camera shots from oddly distinct angles, and Noel can certainly be considered to be the film’s doomed protagonist, a man trapped in an out-of-control world.

   Also look for the noir-like mise-en-scene, the numerous staircases, doorways, and pathways that play prominent roles in conveying a story about Renault’s psychological descent into madness and Noel’s descent into savagery.

   In “The Master Plan of Dr. Fu Manchu,” an episode of the television show, The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu, a physician is pressured into performing plastic surgery on a man long thought dead but who is very much alive: Adolf Hitler.

   Fu Manchu, Satan incarnate, kidnaps Dr. Harlow Henderson, a friend of Petrie, and under the threat of torture, forces him to change the face of Hitler into the visage of an ordinary looking man, a person of unspeakable evil who could then safely hide in plain sight.

   Directed by William Witney, this thrilling episode has it all: murder by tarantula, Cold War paranoia, Nazis in an underground South Pacific hideaway, and the psychologically discomforting notion that physicians, with the use of surgical implements, could fundamentally re-alter a man’s physical identity.

   The last five minutes or so of this episode showcase Witney’s strength as a director of action sequences. After all, we get the thrill of witnessing Smith shoot and kill Hitler!

 Posted by at 7:33 pm