RARA-AVIS: Benjamin Appel, New York hard boiled writer

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 05 May 2006

Has anyone heard of a hard boiled writer named Benjamin Appel (1907-77)? He wrote a number of novels and short stories set in Hell's Kitchen and the waterfront in the 30s, 50s, and 50s, some paperback originals. His sense of detail, and his descriptions of what poverty and ethnocentricism do to the people living in industrial New York during the Depression, and after WWII, is unequalled IMO by New York novelists. Many of his characters are racketeers, both "brain guys" and
"torpedoes." And others are poor immigrants who suffer the most humiliating indignities until and unless they appeal to wise guys, or get wise themselves. Some titles: _Brain Guy_, _The Dark Stain_, _Sweet Money Gir_l (explains why the famous near-naked female figure on the giant Bond's Clothes sign in Times Square was the symbol of all Broadway), _A Big Man, A Fast Man_, _The Raw Edge_, and a great short story collection, _Hell's Kitchen _(aka _Alley Kids_). His 'Dock Walloper" is in Pronzini's _Hard Boiled_ anthology.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 05 May 2006 EDT