RARA-AVIS: Bogie's/Paperjacks

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 06 Dec 2001

The mentions of Bogie's Restaurant in a Warren Murphy novel are not surprising as my memory is of seeing Murphy in the restaurant. Also Paperjacks published LEONARDO'S LAW but I don't have a copy here to confirm that it was one of the Paperjacks with the Bogie's imprint, edited by restaurant owners Bill and Karen Palmer. I also remember that there were several Paperjack reprints of Bill Pronzini's Nameless novels that I think were Bogie imprints.

Paperjacks also did a reprint of Jack Early's RAZZAMATAZZ. Early was a pseudonym of Sandra Scoppettone that she kept very secret for several years. Sandra was a friend in those days and told me that her Jack Early novels always received better reviews than those under her own name. She was active in the formation of Sisters in Crime and my memory is that she told me about the Michael Avallone incident. I know I also heard about it from Avallone.

I say this because after my last post I began to wonder if the Avallone incident happened at Bogie's. I wasn't there but heard about it from both SiC people and Mike and goodness knows where those letters are. I think it was at Bogie's but it may have been at another location.

One Paperjack's Bogie imprint PBO that I am sure of was the last published Ed Noon novel (number 38, I think) by Michael Avallone--HIGH NOON AT MIDNIGHT. Now I know Avallone earned a full chapter in Pronzini's GUN IN CHEEK with his offbeat prose. I have been at parties where quoting Avallonisms became a contest. I also know how obnoxious he could be in his last years with his paranoia coming out in angry letters.

Yet I will say that HIGH NOON AT MIDNIGHT, a very hard to find novel, is worth tracking down. This is especially true if you are familiar with a reasonable number of the earlier 37 Ed Noon novels. Avallone was a Hollywood movie fan and very often reprised movie plots in the Noon novels as in SHOOT IT AGAIN SAM. So here Mike was near the end of the trail in the late 80s and no publisher would touch him. He was an outcast and some of that was due to his own anger and feuds and some was due to his out-of-fashion writing. More than out-of-fashion, his writing had crossed boundaries into the very strange. HIGH NOON AT MIDNIGHT features Avallone's private eye Ed Noon but it also has Gary Cooper as a major character and there are aliens and...well, it is one of the most surreal things I have ever read. No one should have published it. I can't imagine anyone not rejecting it. But the Palmers had the guts to buy it and publish it. Is it a work of great literary merit? No. But it is more interesting, fascinating really, than 90 percent of the crap that is published. The Palmers recognized that and made the great leap.

HIGH NOON AT MIDNIGHT ended up being nominated for an Anthony Award. He didn't win but that was okay. Mike, who didn't have the money to buy a ticket for the awards banquet, hung around at the back of the room for the announcement. But I know he didn't expect to win. He was so proud of being nominated. It must have been his 250th novel at least. It turned out to be his last published. I did a lot of drinking with him that night to celebrate. Mike could be a royal pain in the ass but I kind of liked him. Bless his memory.

So when I think of Bogie's, I think of good times at a nice restaurant but I also think of the Palmers, Karen and Bill. Hyperactive, on the go people. Both were martial arts experts with the belts and several books on the subject in print to prove it. They were pioneers in interactive mystery plays and whodunnit nights and weekends. But most of all I remember them as two people with courage...courage to do what they wanted to do, always, and that included publishing a very strange but fascinating novel by a guy who had become untouchable to the rest of the world.

Richard Moore

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