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Booklist on BORDERLINE

Hard Case Crime continues to resurrect Block’s early work, often written pseudonymously, from the 1950s and early ’60s. Gleefully mixing soft-core pornography with a thriller plot, Block churned out numerous of these bound-for-the-drugstore-paperback-rack quickies as he was gaining his sea legs for the more mature work that would come later. This one makes the most of its seedy border-town setting, jumping between El Paso and Juarez, as the paths of a gambler, divorcée, hitchhiker, stripper, and psycho killer come together in an inevitable bloodbath—but not before a series of steamy, yet surprisingly stylish, couplings (“There was a beginning, bittersweet and almost painful. There was a middle, fast and furious, a scherzo movement in a symphony of fire. And there was an ending, gasping, spent, two bodies washed up on a lonely, barren beach.”) Who knew what lurked on those paperback racks, nestled beside the sundries, awaiting the hungry eyes of surreptitious readers? And, yet, along with the titillation, Block’s inimitable craftsmanship shines through, along with flashes of his signature wit.
— Bill Ott

LB on Cosmicomicon

This post includes commentary from author T.E. Grau, an interview with LB, and his short story, LIKE A BONE IN THE THROAT.

To call him a giant in contemporary Noir and crime literature doesn’t seem up to snuff. In the last 55 years that Mr. Block has been professionally published, he has written under a litany of pen names, producing a nearly impossible to comprehend OVER ONE HUNDRED BOOKS (novels and short story collections), which have earned him a boatload of awards with such names as Edger, Shamus, Anthony, Maltese Falcon, Nero Wolfe, and Philip Marlowe. Add to this the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, the Diamond Dagger for Life Achievement from the Crime Writers Association (UK), the Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award from Mystery Ink magazine, and the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement in the short story. Oh, and it probably bears mentioning that he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers Association, and was proclaimed a Grand Maitre du Roman Noir in France, where he was twice awarded the Societe 813 trophy. And hell, he owns a key to a city (Muncie, Indiana), which isn’t something you see on the keychain of just every scribbler.

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Now Available from Rough Edges Press: Klaw – W.L. Fieldhouse

A legendary action writer returns with a novel of brutal violence and bloody revenge! John Klawson has a promising future as a gunsmith in the town of Great Ford, Colorado until he makes the mistake of challenging an insidious criminal conspiracy. Maimed, gutshot, and left for dead, Klawson survives against all the odds and becomes the infamous outlaw, gunfighter, and avenger known only as Klaw

Millennial Fever

I love infographics. Maybe it's because I'm more a words/pictures than a numbers person, but something about these little bundles of graphical joy blows my proverbial skirt up. I find this one particularly interesting for anyone who care about marketing books:


When I look at this, two aspects of it leap out at me. First, Millennials comprise a ton of people. More than I realized.

Second, these people care out shareable experiences. Oh, and they spend money. (I guess that's three things.)

Translation: Because reading is the ultimate shareable experience, one that can be had by anyone anywhere and shared through any and all available venues, this is an important group when thinking about book marketing.

Which makes sense. Most of the book bloggers I know fall into this age group. The readers I interact with online are most often in this group. The people I work with at publishers who toil in book marketing are also most often in this demographic.

Which is not to say us Olds aren't a crucial reader audience. Some of the most passionate readers I've met are well into their sixth or seventh decade on this planet.

Those of us who have moved into gitoffmylawn territory age-wise can sometimes be inclined to generalize about The Kids. To dismiss them, even. To figure we don't speak their language, nor they ours. But the reality is that we'll all get a lot further if we understand rather than dismiss them. 

Cocktail of the Week: The Millionaire (Whiskey)

Picking up where we left off last week, now that the tax man has come and gone ...

The 1920s produced a yacht club’s worth of cocktails called the Millionaire. Trouble is, in the words of spirits historian David Wondrich, “most of ‘em sucked.” Wondrich sticks to the earliest known recipe to lay claim to the moneyed moniker, born in London’s swank Ritz Hotel around the time of Prohibition and consisting of rye, Grand Marnier, grenadine and egg white. Over the years substitutions have been made, like bourbon for rye, framboise liqueur in place of the grenadine or a less domineering orange flavor than the Marnier. Two additions have also become commonplace. While David Embury said the original recipe “produces a very satisfactory drink, in my opinion it is improved by a small quantity of lemon juice.” He also didn’t look askance on a dash of absinthe.

Today’s avatar of wealth is Donald Trump, not Andrew Carnegie, so my Millionaire would be gaudy, complete with all the golden bells and silver whistles. I opted for bourbon as a change of pace from my usual rye, with curaçao as the orange component. Some recipes prescribe rinsing the cocktail glass with absinthe as well as including a small amount in the mix. I’m not a millionaire, so I used Pernod instead. I recommend the rinse only; adding some to the drink hits that note too hard.

Embury, as usual, was on the money. Lemon juice is essential, providing a welcome countervailing element to the egg white. There’s a rich sweetness to this drink that puts it squarely in the after-dinner category. Given a choice, I prefer last week’s Millionaire. But I can’t see any one-percenters ordering either one. They’re more a single malt Scotch crowd.

The Millionaire (Whiskey)

2 oz. rye (or bourbon)
½ oz. curaçao
½ oz. lemon juice
2-3 dashes grenadine
egg white
dash of absinthe (or Pernod)

Combine the first five ingredients. Shake without ice, then with. Strain into a cocktail glass rinsed or misted with absinthe (or Pernod).

Want more Cocktail of the Week? The first fifty-two essays are available in the Kindle bestseller DOWN THE HATCH: ONE MAN’S ONE YEAR ODYSSEY THROUGH CLASSIC COCKTAIL RECIPES AND LORE. Buy it now at