I'm on an extended assignment in Fort Worth, Texas. I arrived Sunday January 2. The weather is beautiful and, more importantly, the used bookstores are terrific. Last night we (my wife and I) went to a Half Price Books on the west side of Ft. Worth and was overwhelmed. We spent a few hours stalking the stacks and put more books back than we purchased, but we did come away with a few treats: A Fine Dark Line by Joe R. Lansdale, Deep Space edited by Robert Silverberg and The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick.
This morning we drove south to Waco and stopped at a Half Price Books in Burleson. I purchased a copy of the Millipede Press edition of Fredric Brown's Here Comes a Candle and Not Comin' Home to You by Lawrence Block. It was originally published as by Paul Kavanuagh. Simply put, I really, really like Half Price Books.
The temporary move down to Texas is one of a few reasons Dark City has been quiet the last month or so, but the near future offers the hope of consistent posts and, hopefully, hours of pleasure reading. I have read a few terrific books over the past several weeks and a few everyone should find and read are:
Noir 13, which is a collection of stories that features some of Gorman's classic stories, including "Such a Good Girl" and several (I think I counted seven) never before published tales. It is a wonderfully entertaining collection that I will review in great detail soon.
Johnny Porno is a New York City mob tale set in the 1970s at the height of the popularity of the film "Deep Throat." The protagonist is a down on his luck electrician who lost his union card and by extension his job. To make ends meet he takes a below low-level mafia job dropping off and picking up bootleg copies of the film to area theaters. It doesn't take long for everything to fall apart. It is a gem of a novel, and it is a novel that I plan to review in detail soon. And, if you're interested the writer is the cool Charlie Stella.
Funland is Richard Laymon's carnival novel and it is different from any carnival you've ever read about. A description of the plot will fall flat, but it is one of Laymon's four or five best novels. Entertaining and goof fare for anyone except the most squeamish--it is absent the adolescent sex that occupies much of Laymon's work. It was scheduled to be published in mass market by Leisure, which hasn't happened since Leisure is slowly tilting to its side just before it goes belly up. It is, however, available as an ebook at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon or on the second hand market.
I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year and if any of you know any good book shops within an hour or so of Ft. Worth, please don't keep them a secret.
Blowback by Bill Pronzini (Random House, 1977) Pulp Serenade
22 minutes ago