Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stark House Update from Greg Shepard

“Hitch was with this great, high-heeled monster of a woman and the only

reason I was along, I spoke Italian and Hitch did not. It turned out that the

woman was not Italian at all, she was Sicilian, and her glue-voiced accent

was so heavy that I understood almost as little as Hitch. Not that it mattered.”

Hello Everyone--

Stark House Press is happy to announce the long-awaited publication of the late, great Peter Rabe’s final manuscripts, The Silent Wall and The Return of Marvin Palaver. Along with a very rare Rabe short story, “Hard Case Redhead,” the books will appear in a single volume this coming January. The above passage is the opening from The Silent Wall, which Booklist calls “a claustrophobic noir, at times almost unbearably tense.” And it is certainly that. Matty Matheson has the run of an entire town but he is not allowed to leave, held captive by the Mafia for reasons he only thinks he knows.

The Return of Marvin Palaver is a darkly comic, highly complex short book about a swindle, payback and the incredible lengths one man will go to get his revenge against the man who ruined him. Rabe never wrote the same book twice and even with his talent for writing different kinds of crime fiction, the story will leave you breathless with its unique voice and dark sense of humor.

Shortly before his death in 1990, Rabe had sent these manuscripts to friend and author Ed Gorman, who’s had them in his possession until now. We’re ecstatic to be the ones who are finally bringing these books, along with the short story “Hard Case Redhead,” into the world. In “Redhead,” two thieves and their uninvited guest try to wait out the aftermath of a troublesome heist. It’s hard-boiled and noir and shows that Rabe could write just as well at shorter lengths.

Donald E. Westlake named Rabe and Hammett his two major genre influences, Bill Pronzini called him “a kind of fictional surgeon,” and Bill Crider said, “Few writers are Rabe’s equal in the field of the hardboiled gangster story.” If you’ve never read Peter Rabe, there’s no better time to start.

We’re also announcing the creation of the Stark House Book Club with a special offer of free shipping on all our books to everyone who signs up now. No minimum to buy, no obligation, just sign up and you’ll receive each new release, hassle free and with no shipping, as they are published. For a limited time, each new member can order as many backlist titles as they’d like for 15% off list price and again, free shipping. To sign up for the club, e-mail us at And to check out our list of authors and titles, visit our website at

On tap for the near future are a two-in-one volume of vintage sleaze crime novels from the famous (under his real name) Don Elliott and a nice trio from Day Keene, and many other exciting titles. So sign up now and don’t miss a book!

To receive this newsletter automatically, please send your e-mail address. We look forward to hearing from you.


Greg Shepard, publisher

Stark House Press

I Don't Think He Likes It

The Nutcracker in 3D :: :: Reviews: "“The Nutcracker in 3D” easily qualifies as one of the most preposterous ideas in the history of the movies."

Introducing Ed Gorman

Top Suspense Group

Savages -- Don Winslow

I've reviewed five or six of Don Winslow's books here, so it's no secret that I'm a fan of his work. I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading this one. Maybe I was saving it.

Savages is the story of Ben and Chon, a couple of high-end marijuana peddlers in Laguna Beach, and O (short for Ophelia), the young woman they both love and who loves them in return. (Yes, there's quite a bit of sex in the book.) Things are fine until the Baja Cartel decides to take over their business, though "take over" means that Ben and Chon continue to do all the hard work. They turn down the offer, having become incredibly rich already, and say they'll just retire. The cartel says they won't, and when they don't cooperate, Elena, the head of the cartel, has O kidnapped. Hilarity ensues, because this is a very funny book. Savagery ensues because, well, the cartel is made up of savages, and Chon's a savage, too. Ben isn't, but he has to become one or pretend to be one, and we are what we pretend to be. In the end, it's the savagery that triumphs.

The first thing you'll notice about the book isn't the plot, though. It's the writing. Reading Savages is a little like reading a New Wave SF novel in the '70s, lots of playing around with words and format and conventional narrative and such. It works just fine for me, but it might not work for everybody. Check it out and see what you think.

100 Best Movie Spaceships

100 Best Movie Spaceships -

Link via SF Signal.

Gilded Books

AbeBooks: Riddled with Gilt

You Can't Be Too Careful

Abandoned rolling pin causes Red Line re-routes :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State: "Someone left the rolling pin in a bag at the Red Line’s Grand/State station at about 9 a.m. Friday.

The abandoned bag was deemed suspicious, and police rushed to the scene. Trains were re-routed out of the subway and to elevated tracks through the Loop as the bag was checked out."


Kate Wilhelm, The Mile-Long Spaceship, Berkley, 1963.

Today's Western Movie Poster

And Keep Off Her Lawn!

Olga Kotelko, the 91-Year-Old Track Star -

20 Essential Works of Utopian Fiction

Best Online Colleges: 20 Essential Works of Utopian Fiction

Pterosaur Update

Peerless Pterosaur Could Fly Long-Distance For Days : NPR: "The natural world's long-distance flight champions are seagoing birds that fly up to 6,000 miles nonstop. But now, two scientists are proposing to give the honor to the pterosaur, a massive creature from the distant past."

The Pulp Fiction Exhibition, University of Otago, New Zealand

Some wonderful stuff here, pages of it.

The Pulp Fiction Exhibition, University of Otago, New Zealand: "She was curled up on the divan in my apartment…and she wasn’t my aunt, grandmother, or a visiting fireman. She was Lulu, the cutest, hottest belly-dancer this side of Farouk…’.

So begins Marc Brody’s The Bride Wore Black, one of the 900 or so Australian pulp fiction publications that were purchased in 2005 and form the Pulp Fiction Collection in Special Collections, Central University Library."

Hat tip to Jim Cameron.

Spice World

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm Shocked -- Shocked!

The Associated Press: Willie Nelson charged with pot possession in Texas: "SIERRA BLANCA, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman says country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas.

Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks says the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday. Brooks says an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana."

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

Another List I'm Not On

100 Notable Books of 2010

A Drop of the Hard Stuff -- Lawrence Block

Matthew Scudder is back. That should be enough to get the attention of most readers of this blog. The book (part of the new Mulholland Books line) isn't due to be published until May 12 of next year, but I was lucky enough to find an ARC in my Bouchercon book bag.

I've been reading about Scudder for a long time. I can, in fact, remember buying the first book in the series, The Sins of the Fathers, back in 1976. In those days, Texas had a Blue Law, which meant that most stores were closed on Sunday and that ones that were open could sell only certain items. One of the few places open in Brownwood, Texas, where I lived at the time, was the local Walgreen's. I don't remember what I went there to buy, but I never walk by a paperback rack without looking over the stock. This time I was happy to see a new book by Block, whose work was already familiar to me from a lot of other books that I liked. I don't know if books were permitted items on Sundays, but I picked it up and the cashier didn't question it. I paid for my stuff and went home. I probably read the book within the next day or so. Little did I think that 34 years later I'd be reading a new book in the series.

While it's a new book, however, the case that Scudder tells about is an old one, from the first year of his sobriety. The book opens with a present-day prologue. Scudder's talking to Mick Grogan and he recalls a kid he grew up with. While Scudder joined the cops, High-Low Jack, as he came to be known, went the other way. Years later, he and Scudder meet again, and that's the story that Scudder goes on to tell Grogan (and us). Scudder, looking back as he's done before, has plenty of opportunity to remark on the changes in the city in the last thirty years. He goes to a lot of meetings, and he tries to find out who killed Jack. At first it seems as if he's reached a dead end, but as it turns out, there's more to the case. That's about all you need to know if you're a fan of Block and the Scudder series. The style is as smooth and apparently effortless as ever, the dialogue is sharp, and Block never makes a false move. (Note that apparently. Writing like Block's is never effortless.) The Mulholland imprint is off to a great start.

Top Suspense Group

Top Suspense Group: Introducing Max Allan Collins

Lost and Found?

Chinese villagers 'descended from Roman soldiers' - Telegraph: "Genetic testing of villagers in a remote part of China has shown that nearly two thirds of their DNA is of Caucasian origin, lending support to the theory that they may be descended from a 'lost legion' of Roman soldiers."

Croc Upate (New Species Edition)

100-Million-Year-Old Crocodile Species Discovered : NPR: "A new species of crocodile that lived 100 million years ago has been identified from a fossil found in Thailand, researchers said Thursday.

Komsorn Lauprasert, a scientist at Mahasarakham University, said the species had longer legs than modern-day crocodiles and probably fed on fish, based on the characteristics of its teeth.

'They were living on land and could run very fast,' said Komsorn, who noticed the skull fossil in a museum in the summer of 2006."


Frederick R. Ewing (Jean Shepherd and Theodore Sturgeon), I, Libertine, Ballantine, 1956.

Now Available!

This is the Christmas gift of the year. Get several copies!

Today's Western Movie Poster

A Tough Act to Follow

Not even Sunday! � Criggo

Possibly Unfortunate Character Names

Dick Swiveller

Forgotten Books: CONTROL -- William Goldman

William Goldman's written some wonderful books, both fiction and nonfiction, and these days I suspect he's best known for The Princess Bride, a favorite of mine. But at one time Goldman was considered one of the premier thriller writers. In fact, two of the reviews quoted in the front pages of this book use the word thriller to describe it. Which just goes to show how the meaning of that word has changed in the last 30 years or so.

This Dell paperback edition of Control is a bit over 300 pages long with really tiny print. Very little of it is taken up with action, though when the action comes, it's intense. The first 100 pages or so is all backstory about various characters. There's a prison break, but even that's pretty low-key. In other words, this isn't what you'd expect from a thriller written in 2010. I wonder if the book would even be published now, because what Goldman did in a lot of his books was give you a bunch of disparate characters going about their lives and leaving you to wonder what the connections were among them, or even if there were any connections. There are, of course, and everything comes together, in one of the wildest plots Goldman ever concocted. It's part SF, part . . . I'm not even going to say, because that would spoil the whole book. There's one thing I should warn you about if you've never read Goldman before: anybody can die at any time. He loves to kill of sympathetic characters.

This isn't my favorite Goldman novel. It's almost too far-fetched even for me. But the characters and the writing make up for it, and the plotting carried me right along. Even re-reading it was fun. If you haven't read Goldman, you might not want to start with this one, though. Try Marathon Man, Magic, or The Color of Light. Avoid Brothers, a sequel to Marathon Man that I didn't like at all.

Probably Not as Good as it Sounds

BE BOLD WITH BANANAS: N/A - AbeBooks - Wm Burgett Bks and Collectibles

Shanghai Surprise

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Archaeology Update

Egyptian mummy revealed as a boy dressed in girl’s clothing |

Introducing Harry Shannon

Top Suspense Group

One More Thing to be Thankful for Today

twittens: "twittens are truly the gloves of the text generation: easily access to your thumb and/or forefinger to allow for easy texting, touchscreens and endless other things - even in the coldest weather."

In Case You Were Wondering, . . .

Pulling Thanksgiving together: N.H. native Sarah Hale's campaign swayed Lincoln to nationalize holiday - Fosters: "So how did a largely independent, scattered feast observed for years by many become a designated national holiday woven into the culture of the United States?

The answer? The persistent campaigning of New Hampshire-born writer Sarah Josepha Hale and her influence on President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 signing of a proclamation that marked a set Thursday each November as a national day of thanksgiving."


W. J. Stuart, Forbidden Planet, Paperback Library, 1976.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Probably Not as Good as it Sounds

Scouts in Bondage: And Other Violations of Literary Propriety: Michael Bell

More Candy

Storck - Part of Your World - Mini Dickmann's

Forgotten Music -- Joni James

Probably nobody under the age of 50 remembers Joni James, which seems incredible since she had a total of 13 songs in the national Top 40 between 1952 and 1961, seven of them in the Top 10. Here's a good trivia question for you: Who was the first American artist to record in Apple Studios? Joni James. She sold over 100 million records and was once mentioned in a Peanuts comic strip. She was still doing occasional concerts up until just a few years ago. Here's a little number called "There Goes My Heart" from 1958 that will give you an idea of the kind of thing Joni James did so well but that nobody listens to now. Except maybe old guys like me. I can see the dancers swirling around the American Bandstand stage even now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton - Hilton Fires Back At Hairy Lawsuit - Contactmusic News: "Socialite PARIS HILTON has filed a countersuit against the bosses of a hair extension company in an ongoing breach of contract dispute.

The hotel heiress was paid $3.5 million (�2.3 million) in 2007 to endorse Hairtech's Dream Catchers range, but Hairtech International executives slapped her with legal papers in August (10), accusing Hilton of reneging on her contract by allegedly wearing competitors' pieces."

Watch This!

Top Suspense Group: Introducing Vicki Hendricks

Top Suspense Group: Introducing Vicki Hendricks


W. J. Stuart, Forbidden Planet, Bantam, 1956.

Last Chance to Win

Laurie's Wild West: Question for Week Four and the Grand Prize is Up: "Thanks for your patience everybody. The question for Week Four of the Pulp Writer / OutWest contest is up and waiting for you over at

This is the LAST week of the contest and is the GRAND PRIZE WEEK. Because of that and because of our late start, and finally because it's Thanksgiving week, we'll be extending the deadline for the contest to next Tuesday, November 30, at 5 PM Pacific, instead of this Friday."

Today's Western Movie Poster


Men grab wrong 'dough' in pizza holdup - U.S. news - Weird news - "Police in New York City say thieves held up the owners of a pizzeria and then fled with a bag full of dough — the kind that crusts are made of.
[. . . .]
According to court papers, LaRosa and an accomplice followed the owners of Brothers Pizzeria on Staten Island. After donning masks, the papers say, they pointed guns and demanded the men turn over a bag they believed held the day's proceeds.

But instead, the bag was full of pizza dough."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Joe Lansdale Talks about Wal-Mart

Walmart, I Can’t Quit You | Mulholland Books

In Case You Were Wondering, . . .

Now I Know: How Turkey Got Its Name

Howard the Duck

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Funny and (in Some Cases) Prescient

News Desk: Before the Junk Jokes: Airport Security Cartoons : The New Yorker

Ingrid Pitt, R. I. P.

Queen of Hammer Horror Ingrid Pitt Passes Away Aged 73 - "Ingrid Pitt, the actress that starred in many Hammer Horror films such as Countess Dracula has unfortunately passed away aged 73. She collapsed a few days ago and was taken to a hospital in South London, sadly that is where she passed away"

Me, Me, Me

A new interview at Top Suspense Group. Check it out.

The Wayne Dundee Interview Part Two

The Education of a Pulp Writer: The Wayne Dundee Interview Part Two


Guy Endore, The Werewolf of Paris, Avon, 1951.


Mouseketeers reunite for M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Time and Chance Happeneth to Them All

Rock Stars: Then and Now | NBC Chicago

Today's Western Movie Poster

Start the New Year Right

The Silent Wall / The Return of Marvin Palaver
1-933586-32-x $19.95
Two previously unpublished novels by one of the top noir authors of the 1950's and 60's-- a tense drama of Mafia revenge, and a crazy con from beyond the grave.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Spy Thriller

Taliban Leader in Peace Talks Was an Impostor - "“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”"

Baby Showers -- More Fun than Ever

Three arrested for disorderly conduct in Wilson Borough baby shower brawl - UPDATE | "The brawl broke out after a group renting the fire company’s hall for a baby shower was told to leave because the crowd was rowdy and there were instances of underage drinking and people drinking alcohol they brought into the hall, which is against the rules, Parkansky said. Some members of the group were upset about being kicked out, so they chased one of the hall’s employees outside and assaulted him, Parkansky said."

Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.

World's First Rock-and-Roll Song

World's First Rock-and-Roll Song Identified : Discovery News

I once read a whole book on this topic. I think the conclusion was different.
Link via Neatorama.

The Most Colorful Cities In The World

The Most Colorful Cities In The World: Pics, Videos, Links, News: "Who wouldn’t want to live in one of the world’s most colorful cities? Here are just a few you can put on your wish list."

Part 8 of Patti Abbott's Round Robin Story Challenge

Sea Minor: La Ronde

And So It Begins . . .

Staten Island's Wild Turkeys: "Fox 5 saw one turkey playing chicken with a car. The bird just stood there, until the driver gave in and went around.

One woman recently said she was trapped in her car after turkeys jumped onto her windshield."

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

The Day the Earth Exploded

Monday, November 22, 2010

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Car Thief Scolds Mom For Leaving Kid In Car - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "A mother was criticized for leaving her son in her car by a man who stole her car, police said."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

I Found a Penny in the Street Last Week

Three-Year-Old Boy Finds $4M Pendant in England - CBS News: "A young treasure hunter in Britain found something unusual and valuable when trying his metal detector for the first time last year. Three-year-old James Hyatt was using it when, as he put it, 'It went beep beep beep.'

Hyatt and his father started digging and Thursday they went public with their find, a 500-year-old gold pendant. Experts say it's worth about $4 million dollars."

Croc Update (Oldtimer Edition)

Rock around the Croc - Around the World News - Croatian Times Online News - English Newspaper: "A crocodile fossil in a dusty university museum has turned back the clock 165 million years to be hailed the oldest remains of the creature ever found."

Here's a Contest for You

Gen Xtinct: Our first contest! And it's bionic.: "To celebrate the November 23 release of the never-before-available 'The Six Million Dollar Man' on DVD, we're launching our first-ever contest.

The folks at Time Life have provided some awesome prizes, including a heckuva grand prize: 'The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Collection,' a 40-CD (!) set. You can read all about the collection, which has a $239.95 value, at, which is also the only place you can order it."


Barry Malzberg, Underlay, Avon, 1974.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

El Paso named safest US city - El Paso Times

A Review of Interest (to Me, Anyway)

Idle Thoughts: Book Review: The Nighttime is the Right Time

Today's Western Movie Poster

St. Louis Leads the Way

St. Louis is most dangerous city | "St. Louis overtook Camden, N.J., as the nation's most dangerous city in 2009, according to a national study released Sunday."

Wrapping Paper for . . .

. . . well, you know who you are. Many other designs to choose from, too.

Link via Neatorama.

They Aren't Tough for Seepy Benton

Layer 8: The world's 23 toughest math questions

Welcome to the Top Suspense Group Blog

Check it out here: Top Suspense Group

Croc Update (Smelly Edition)

Mum finds crocodile's head outside chip shop | "‘I didn’t think it was real – but after a couple of days it really began to smell,’ noted Miss Green."


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Wayne Dundee Interview

The Education of a Pulp Writer: The Wayne Dundee Interview, Part One

Bud Webster's Column on Stanley G. Weinbaum

Grantville Gazette Universe Annex A Martian? Odd, I See (or A Taste of Milwaukee's Finest)

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Taking a Line for a Walk :: Nigel Bird

Read All About It!

Pulp Serenade: Rancho Diablo Interview with Bill Crider

Actors in Unlikely Movie Jobs

Actors in Unlikely Movie Jobs - The Daily Beast

No matter what they say, I maintain that Denise Richards was entirely convincing as a nuclear physicist and deserved an Oscar™ for her work.


Robert Block, Psycho, Crest, 1060.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton Performs Community Service In Style | NBC New York: "Paris Hilton may have been ordered by a Las Vegas judge to perform community service, but on Friday, when she was spotted on the job, there were no traditional orange vests in sight!

On Friday, the paparazzi captured the heiress cleaning up graffiti, while dressed in tight black pants, a yellow tee over a billowing zigzag, black and white top and high heels."

Photos at the link.

Peru Update

2.5m-year-old tobacco found | "PALEONTOLOGISTS in Peru have discovered fossilised tobacco in the northern Amazon that dates back to the Pleistocene Era 2.5 million years ago, the scientists said today.

The compact block of tobacco, about 30 square centimetres was found by scientists from the Meyer-Honninger Paleontology Museum earlier this week in the Maranon river basin in northeastern Peru."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Largest car charging network in the U.S. rolls out in Houston - Houston Chronicle Energy News: "Houston’s title as the world’s Energy Capital will gain a bit more luster when the city becomes home to the nation’s largest network of electric vehicle chargers."

The Bridges at Toko-Ri