RE: RARA-AVIS: recent purchases

From: Ron Clinton (
Date: 03 Apr 2008

Yes, THE STRAIGHT MAN is the first in the Black Lizard line (though, as you rightly point out, its appearance is markedly different). I've also heard that Gifford wrote it, and I've also heard the same denials--but have no idea which to believe. I've picked it up twice and tried to read it, and came away defeated. I've no idea why. But I had the same problem with PORT TROPIQUE, so perhaps there's some validity in that Gifford rumor.

Ron C.

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> Subject: RARA-AVIS: recent purchases
> Today I ran across The Straight Man by Kent Nelson. I looked at it,
> read the back and was wavering when I noticed it was a Black Lizard
> book, even though its cover was like no Black Lizard I've ever seen.
> Its copyight was also earlier than those of the few other Black Lizards
> they had. Is this the first in the line? Is it the only one with a
> different cover style? (Yes, I know the color of the spines changed,
> but the overall look stayed prety much the same.) I searched the
> archives and see that it was thought that Barry Gifford might have
> written it, but he said it was actually someone elese's pseudonym.
> Gifford's Port Tropique was in the line. He was also Black Lizard's
> editor, wasn't he? For how long? The entire Creative Arts run? Also,
> the copyright page for The Straight Man says: "This project is supported
> in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in
> Washington, DC, a Federal agency." I'm not sure if that refers to this
> one book or Black Lizard got started with a Federal grant. If the
> latter, I'm happy to see a small bit of my tax dollars went to such a
> worthy project.
> I also picked up Gun, Drugs and Monsters, a Cal McDonald mystery by
> Steve Niles. Niles has gotten mixed response in the archives.
> Oh yeah, at the same place, I saw a smutty novel called Kitty, by TS
> Boyd. Is Boyd really anyone who went on the more fame? Should I go
> back for the book?
> I also saw a novel by Bernard Wolfe. I nly know him for cowriting
> Really the Blues with Mezz Mezzrow. Are his solo books any good?
> Mark
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