I’m selling an extra copy I have of the collection of Lawrence’s Block’s short stories that was released in 2008 (eBay listing is here).  

I’m selling an extra copy I have of the collection of Lawrence’s Block’s short stories that was released in 2008 (eBay listing is here).  

Charles Willeford (January 2, 1919 - March 27, 1988)

Penguin books is re-releasing 50 classic crime novels to the Australia market.  I was happy to see that Charles Willeford’s Miami Blues made the list but I was shocked that not a single novel from either Jim Thompson or James Cain was included. 
You can check out the full list here.

Penguin books is re-releasing 50 classic crime novels to the Australia market.  I was happy to see that Charles Willeford’s Miami Blues made the list but I was shocked that not a single novel from either Jim Thompson or James Cain was included. 

You can check out the full list here.

Don’t listen to the critics, this movie is well worth seeing.  

The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain
Over the weekend I read James M. Cain’s final unfinished novel as published by Hard Case Crime.  It’s a story of a femme fatale who is torn between two men who each have something that she wants: sex and money.  Both men end up dead and the reader is left to decide what actually happened (Is she a murderess or a victim of circumstances?). I enjoyed reading the novel even though the story was a bit uneven.  There were enough good passages to make it a worthwhile read. The story was also much more racy than I had expected,  although I suppose the lurid cover should have clued me in.
The novel is followed by an afterword by the book’s editor, Charles Ardai, whose love for Cain’s writing is apparent.  Ardai describes Cain as one of the three greatest writers in the hardboiled tradition (Chandler and Hammett being the other two). He talks about what sets Cain’s writing apart and how his earlier writings were received by other writers and the general public. The most fascinating part of the afterword is Ardai’s description of bringing the novel to print.  From tracking down the manuscript to piecing together multiple rewrites and fragments, the 9 year publication process reads like a detective story in itself.

The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain

Over the weekend I read James M. Cain’s final unfinished novel as published by Hard Case Crime.  It’s a story of a femme fatale who is torn between two men who each have something that she wants: sex and money.  Both men end up dead and the reader is left to decide what actually happened (Is she a murderess or a victim of circumstances?). I enjoyed reading the novel even though the story was a bit uneven.  There were enough good passages to make it a worthwhile read. The story was also much more racy than I had expected,  although I suppose the lurid cover should have clued me in.

The novel is followed by an afterword by the book’s editor, Charles Ardai, whose love for Cain’s writing is apparent.  Ardai describes Cain as one of the three greatest writers in the hardboiled tradition (Chandler and Hammett being the other two). He talks about what sets Cain’s writing apart and how his earlier writings were received by other writers and the general public. The most fascinating part of the afterword is Ardai’s description of bringing the novel to print.  From tracking down the manuscript to piecing together multiple rewrites and fragments, the 9 year publication process reads like a detective story in itself.

I picked up this noir classic last weekend at the Alabaster Bookshop near Union Square.  

I picked up this noir classic last weekend at the Alabaster Bookshop near Union Square.  

How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence
by Lawrence Kane, Kris Wilder
I received this book as a gift not too long ago from someone who knows that I enjoy reading crime fiction.  It sat on my shelf for awhile but when I picked up the book, I read it almost straight through.  Although title may suggest otherwise, the book does not glorify violence.  Instead, it focuses on how to respond to, survive, and deal with the legal repercussions of violence.  This should be required reading for all young men who, at some point during their adolescent and young adult years, will undoubtedly experience violence.
 Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:
You are not a tank.  Do not stand in one place when fighting, which inexperienced fighters are prone to do. If you stand in one place you will get hit and it will hurt.  Get hit enough times, and you will be seriously injured, even if you outlast your opponent and “win” the fight.
Don’t go to the ground.  Bad things happen to fighters who find themselves on the ground.  Get up as quickly as possible to avoid serious injury.
Weapons are ubiquitous; nearly everyone carries a pocket knife and, those who don’t, will make do with improvised weapons such as beer bottles. 
 This is a great introduction to self defense. I wish I had read this when I was younger - it would have definitely helped me to avoid some of the jams I got myself into.

How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence

by Lawrence Kane, Kris Wilder

I received this book as a gift not too long ago from someone who knows that I enjoy reading crime fiction.  It sat on my shelf for awhile but when I picked up the book, I read it almost straight through.  Although title may suggest otherwise, the book does not glorify violence.  Instead, it focuses on how to respond to, survive, and deal with the legal repercussions of violence.  This should be required reading for all young men who, at some point during their adolescent and young adult years, will undoubtedly experience violence.

Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:

  1. You are not a tank.  Do not stand in one place when fighting, which inexperienced fighters are prone to do. If you stand in one place you will get hit and it will hurt.  Get hit enough times, and you will be seriously injured, even if you outlast your opponent and “win” the fight.
  2. Don’t go to the ground.  Bad things happen to fighters who find themselves on the ground.  Get up as quickly as possible to avoid serious injury.
  3. Weapons are ubiquitous; nearly everyone carries a pocket knife and, those who don’t, will make do with improvised weapons such as beer bottles.

This is a great introduction to self defense. I wish I had read this when I was younger - it would have definitely helped me to avoid some of the jams I got myself into.

      I decided to read this book after watching this book trailer.  The premise of the book is interesting: a room is discovered  that contains a cache of guns used in murders in New York City throughout the years.  A detective tracks down the serial killer who created this shrine, using his knowledge of the history and geography of New York.  The book was enjoyable although the ending was disappointing.  

How I Became a Fan of Crime Fiction

      Like most people under the age of 40, my first exposure to the crime fiction genre was through television.  For me that meant watching shows like Magnum PI, Columbo, Hunter, The Commish, and (I can’t believe this was an actual TV show) the Father Dowling Mysteries.  When I was a teenager I read comic books which, as I look back now, use many elements of noir (picture Batman standing on a rooftop looking down on a shadowy, crime-filled Gotham).  

      In college I began reading crime fiction novels of the 1950s after taking an English class on the subject (we read books by Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and my favorite author: Charles Willeford).  Since then, I have become avid crime fiction reader, reading 10+ crime fiction novels each year.  This Tumblr blog is a way for me to share my interest in the subject.  I hope you enjoy reading my posts.