RARA-AVIS: The Peddler by Richard Prather

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dz@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 19 Dec 2006

I just finished the Hard Case reprint of The Peddler by Richard Prather, and this was quite an achievement in writing. I've read a half dozen or so Shell Scott books, enjoyed them for what they were, but this book caught me by surprise. You can think of it as a mix of Pacino's Scarface and a Jim Thompson inspired nightmare. Tough kid Tony Romero works his way up the ladder in the prostitution racket, and things go from bad to worse with a bit of madness and paranoia thrown into the mix. The writing, at least for me, is very interesting, a naturalness to it that reminded me of Paul Cain. Very tough, unflinching, and it's hard to imagine this book being released in 1952. Anyway, this is well-worth reading, and Charles, if you have any stories of the reaction this book caused when it came out, I loved to hear them. And pass onto Mr. Prather that this is one hell of a great book.


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