Re: RARA-AVIS: Holloway House

From: John Williams (
Date: 27 Nov 2001

Mark wrote
> So I'm more willing to buy one of the two theories in the lawsuit Jordan
> brought up (thanks), either there was a falling out with Holloway House
> or it's an imitation (or pastiche).

Well Holloway House had something of a history when it comes to posthumous publishing. Most of the work that bears Donald Goines' name came out after he died (btw how about this for a terrible, hardboiled end - Goines was shot dead by two white men, probably drug business asociates, in front of his infant daughters. Two of his books were placed with the body in his coffin, during his funeral one of them, Daddy Cool, was stolen.

So Goines was nothing if not authentic. However it beggars belief to accept that a man who lived as far out on the edge as Goines had a bunch of manuscripts lying around that he never bothered to publish. Also there's a marked increase in quaility in the posthumous books, so my money is on another of the Hollywood House writers - maybe the unsung Joe Nazel - having taken over the mantle.

> Kerry also asked:
> "A question for you: can you recommend any others like Slim?"

Well, depends a bit what you mean by 'like Slim'. If you want boooks about pimping I'd suggest Charles Mingus' extraordinary autobiography, Beneath The Underdog, or if you wnat pimping and crime and prison I'd suggest Seth Morgan's Homeboy, which was of course written by a rich white boy, but one who lived the life (and should certainly have been mentioned in last month's San Francisco theme). Other white prison writers who have a lot in common with Slim are Eddie Bunker and Malcolm Braly.

If you're more concerned with looking for black crime writers period, then, for a rather less sensationalistic approach, you might check out the perennially underated Gar Anthony Haywood, and for neglected black novels of ghetto life you're not going to go far wrong by sticking to the excellent Norton Old Skool list (published in the UK by Payback) - buy them now before they disappear from print once more.

Oh and surely it goes without saying that Chester Himes is up there with Hammett at the very top of the pantheon.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 27 Nov 2001 EST