RARA-AVIS: Dead Horse, and others

From: Bill Crider ( macavityabc@gmail.com)
Date: 24 Dec 2006

Dennis McMillan has recently published Walter Satterthwait's DEAD HORSE, which I think all of you would enjoy. It's about pulp writer Raoul Whitfield, one of the BLACK MASK boys, whose wife, as some of you might know, died under mysterious circumstances. Whitfield was a fascinating character, and Satterthwait does a fine job of recreating the era and fleshing out the story of his wife's death. The writing, as always in a Satterthwait book, is top-notch. Great stuff all around.

And speaking of great stuff, PointBlank has reprinted OF ALL THE BLOODY CHEEK, the first of Frank McAuliffe's novels about Augustus Mandrell. There's nothing else like these books, which are a series of "commissions" undertaken by Mandrell. It's impossible for me to explain just how the commissions are connected, not only with one another but with all the other commissions that Mandrell has in other books in the series. I find these books hilarious, ingeniously constructed, and irresistible. If you've never read them, you really should give them a try.

PointBlank has also reprinted one of the seminal P.I. novels of the '70s, Fred Zackel's COCAINE AND BLUE EYES. I loved this book when I read it back in 1979 or so, and I even watched the TV movie with O. J. Simpson. I highly recommend the novel, which I just finished re-reading. It's a down-and-dirty tour of San Francisco in the '70s, with a plot as complex as anything Chandler ever dreamed up. It's sharply written and observed, and as a holiday bonus, it's set during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. It's great to have this one back in print. Check it out.

Happy holidays to all you hardboiled rare birds.

Bill Crider

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