Saturday, January 29, 2005

Oldies but Goodies

Someone sent in a comment asking me to recommend some more obscure paperback originals. I have two titles that I always mention. One of Fletcher Flora's The Hot-Shot, which you can pick up on abebooks for a fairly reasonable price. It's not a mystery novel, but it does have some criminous elements. The main thing it has going for it is that Flora was channeling Holden Caulfield when he wrote it. The Hot-Shot is the best pastiche of The Catcher in the Rye that I've ever read. My theory is that Flora was just so knocked out by the voice in that book that he couldn't resist giving it a try. You'll have to judge for yourself how successful he was, but I liked this one quite a bit.

The other title that I like to remind people of is Revenge by Jack Ehrlich. It's also available on abebooks. We're talking Jim Thompson territory here, and if you like The Killer Inside Me, this one should definitely be on your list. A more recent Ehrlich title, Bloody Vengeance, is well worth looking for. It's about a different kind of revenge, but it's a powerful statment. I'm not sure how serious Ehrlich was when he wrote it. You'll have to read it to see what I mean. It's really cheap on abebooks.

As always, remember that my recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt. I have no critical sense. I just know what I like.


Anonymous said...

I pick up everything I can by both authors. Ehrlich's a lot nastier than Thompson (honest). And Flora's hugely underappreciated.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the two suggestions. Revenge is a great book and although I have The Hot Shot, I have not read it yet.As for obscure writers, may I select two of my own? One is The Tight Corner by Sam Ross (Signet), a man on the run type novel thru the bayou swamps and Strip The Heart,formerly titled Freakshow by Jacquin Sanders(Popular), an extraordinary carnival noir story. I have picked these up in used bookstores and they are as good as the usual suspects that are always being written about. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pay $100 for A Night for Screaming by Whittington or $350 for Chaze's Black Wings Has My Angel.Somebody please reprint these, by the way! Sometimes the gems find you and you are pleasently surprised.