THE STUART JAMES READER

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Now, for the first time ever, three long-lost, relentlessly hard-boiled classics by noir master Stuart James are collected in one volume: Frisco Flat, Bucks County Report, and Judge Not My Sins.

“One way or another, all of his books are as strikingly memorable. Using words with manipulative skill, he paints portraits that are poignantly three-dimensional and compassionate. You’re about to experience the essential Stuart James.” David Spencer, from his extensive Afterword in this volume.

FRISCO FLAT
When his father is beaten-to-death, Korean War vet and ex-prize fighter Frankie Cargo returns to his home in the small, northern California waterfront town of Frisco Flat. Cargo has inherited his father’s fishing boat business and trouble from Sam Barlow, the vicious local cannery owner who rules the town with fear…and with the iron fist of the psychopathic and corrupt Sheriff. If that wasn’t bad enough, Barlow gets involved with the Sheriff’s lover, the voluptuous Tosca Sorrento, who wants more than any man can give. But Barlow won’t be pushed…and never backs down from a fight.

“Pretty darned good. Frisco Flat moves along well. The book is a little better written, a little more literary in places, than many of the hard-boiled novels from that era,” James Reasoner, Rough Edges

BUCKS COUNTY REPORT
The explosive, bestselling novel that lays bare the erotic frustrations of suburban couples in 1960s America with savage frankness and searing drama.

In the wake of the Masters & Johnson studies, exposing the surprising sex lives of Americans, came this fictional bestseller that explores what happens when a famous “sexologist” visits a small town to interview the idle wives of the rich and famous… sparking passions that have been ignored or suppressed, dramatically changing the lives of the residents.

JUDGE NOT MY SINS
The provocative story of a fierce, destructive affair… of a man who longs to love without restraint, to give up his wife and children to plunge himself into a consuming passion that threatens his world… and of a woman who is driven by desire, and tormented by the horrible knowledge that her voracious hungers will destroy the man she loves.

THE BAD GIRLS by Bud Clifton (aka David Stacton)

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A brutal, startling novel that vividly captures all the yearnings, drama and tragedy of two girls gone bad…innocent teenagers who defy society’s rules for a thrill…and end up on the main line to the gutter.

Teens Allie and Janey leave their small town home for the glamor and excitement of the big city…and find the energy, the bustle, and the hard, neon glare of downtown irresistable. They end up at the Jickey Club, drawn by the hot-jazz-filled atmosphere and the hint of danger. They should have taken the hint…because they soon fall into the dark underworld of drugs and prostitution…and may not get out alive.

“Bud Clifton” was a pseudonym for David Derek Stacton (1923-1968), an acclaimed American poet and author, under various names, of literary fiction, historical novels, and soft-core gay porn. He was a two-time recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and also received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work ranged from lurid tales like D is for Delinquent to a non-fiction book about the fall of Constantinople. His books under his own name include The Bonapartes, The Judges of the Secret Order, A Signal Victory and People of the Book: A Novel of the Thirty Years War. He died in Denmark in 1968.

PRAISE FOR DAVID STACTON (aka BUD CLIFTON):

“A stylistic virtuoso, matching on the typewriter the lightning flashes of such musical masters as Paganini on the violin,” The Chicago Tribune

“John Banville comes to mind as an author who so easily switches gears from fustian to fetid…it is fascinating to watch Stacton working out in the noirs the kind of novelist he would become. From the beginning, Stacton is drawn to a certain kind of person, the kind who is the ‘victim of the propulsive force of his own character.'” Los Angeles Review of Books

“The prose of David Stacton is like that of no other writer. It suggests a corridor in a dark Gothic tower, ill-lit by tapers, at one end of which a gong sounds incessantly.”Time Magazine

“The most unjustly neglected American novelist of the post-war years, David Stacton’s ambitious high style and melodrama have seen him banished. It’s time for a return to favour. Few writers have managed more fully than Stacton to bear out Gore Vidal’s maxim that writers shouldn’t ‘write what they know’ but, rather, what they imagine or suspect.’… and yet, Stacton himself can be seen to hide in plain sight behind everything he wrote.” The Guardian (London)

“His prose reveals great cultural depth and breadth. He uses language lovingly. Almost every sentence contains a striking metaphor or simile. Aphorisms sparkle from paragraph to paragraph.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“David Stacton is a major writer who has the approval of critics but so far lacks the consent of readers at large. In short, it’s the story of literary virtue unrewarded…his novels are enjoyable as well as admirable.” Oakland Tribune

THE COMPLETE RICHARD HIMMEL – All 12 Novels

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ALL 12 NOVELS by Richard Himmel, one of the greatest hard-boiled crime writers of the “Gold Medal” era, in one volume.

Throughout the 1950s, Richard worked by day as an interior designer and at night as a successful writer of paperback original crime novels. His first book, I’ll Find You was a massive, multi-million copy bestseller that almost single-handedly put Fawcett Crest’s famed “Gold Medal Paperbacks” on the literary map. He followed that book with four sequels in the “Johnny Maguire” series and four stand-alone novels.

I’ll Find You (Johnny Maguire #1) 1950
The Shame aka Soul of Passion & Strange Desires ) 1950
The Chinese Keyhole (Johnny Maguire #2) 1951
I Have Gloria Kirby (Johnny Maguire #3) 1951
The Sharp Edge 1952
Beyond Desire 1952
Two Deaths Must Die (Johnny Maguire #4) 1954
Cry of the Flesh 1955
The Rich and the Damned (Johnny Maguire #5) 1958

At this point, his career as an interior designer was exploding, making him a national (and soon international sensation), so he took almost 20 years away from the typewriter, before returning to print with a trio of big, sexy, global spy thrillers in 1977.

The 23rd Web 1977
Lions at Night 1979
Echo Chambers 1982

THE BEST PULP NOIR FICTION VOLUME SIX: Four Hard-Boiled Novels

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Four complete novels of raw, hard-boiled, pulp noir greatness by four masters of the genre, back-in-print for the first time in sixty years.

THE HOODS TAKE OVER by Ovid Demaris * BEYOND DESIRE by Richard Himmel * FRISCO FLAT by Stuart James * BRUTE MADNESS by Ledru Baker, Jr.

THE HOODS TAKE OVER
The East Coast mob has moved to Los Angeles and nobody seems willing to stand up to their campaign of terror. But that changes when a young teacher out shopping for groceries witnesses a brutal mob murder, identifies the killers for the police, and is immediately targeted for death. It’s one ordinary man with integrity up against mobsters without a soul. He doesn’t stand a chance… or does he? This book was adapted into the 1958 movie Gang War starring Charles Bronson.

“This is the kind of novel the term ‘Noir’ was coined for..” NB Magazine UK

BEYOND DESIRE
Clarissa…in her arms, Peter achieved manhood. She taught him that to love too many women was to love none at all. He was obsessed with her, drugged by her warmth and willingness. By now, he was ready to kill himself and her if she refused him…

“Decidedly off-beat but nonetheless absorbing. Himmel makes a most unusual story convincing. He should rake’em in.” Pensacola News-Journal

FRISCO FLAT
When his father is beaten-to-death, Korean War vet and ex-prize fighter Frankie Cargo returns to his home in the small, northern California waterfront town of Frisco Flat. Cargo has inherited his father’s fishing boat business and trouble from Sam Barlow, the vicious local cannery owner who rules the town with fear…and with the iron fist of the psychopathic and corrupt Sheriff. If that wasn’t bad enough, Barlow gets involved with the Sheriff’s lover, the voluptuous Tosca Sorrento, who wants more than any man can give. But Barlow won’t be pushed…and never backs down from a fight.

“Pretty darned good. Frisco Flat moves along well. The book is a little better written, a little more literary in places, than many of the hard-boiled novels from that era,” James Reasoner, author of Texas Wind

BRUTE MADNESS
A wild, hard-boiled, pulp novel that will leave you breathless. Once the action starts, it doesn’t let up. Mark Mitchell is a playboy atomic rocket scientist who marries the wrong woman…and is betrayed in the worst possible way. He is quickly arrested, convicted of treason, and sentenced to life in prison. But that’s only the beginning of his nightmare in this lightning-fast, insanely unpredictable, brutal Cold War noir thriller. 

LET HIM GO HANG by Bud Clifton aka David Stacton

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A long-lost noir classic from an unknown master of the craft…a tragic, 1960s literary star hiding behind a pseudonym

The judge bangs his gavel. The murder trial is about to begin.  The defendant, Charles Adams is so scared, his knees are shaking..but If he knew how dire his situation really is, he’d be screaming. The defendant’s wife is wiggling with pleasure. She can’t want to see her husband hang. The dead girl’s parents are quaking with fury as they take their seats…they want Adams to die for what he did.  But things aren’t quite as they seem. Charles Adams is innocent. And doomed. Because the real killer is one of the jurors…and he’s certain what the verdict will be.

Bud Clifton was a pseudonym for David Derek Stacton (1923-1968), an acclaimed American poet and author, under various names, of literary fiction, historical novels, and soft-core gay porn. He died in Denmark in 1968.

“A stylistic virtuoso, matching on the typewriter the lightning flashes of such musical masters as Paganini on the violin,” The Chicago Tribune

“The most unjustly neglected American novelist of the post-war years.” The Guardian (London)

“John Banville comes to mind as an author who so easily switches gears from fustian to fetid. It is fascinating to watch Stacton working out in the noirs the kind of novelist he would become. From the beginning, Stacton is drawn to a certain kind of person, the kind who is the ‘victim of the propulsive force of his own character.'” Los Angeles Review of Books

THE MURDER SPECIALIST by Bud Clifton (aka David Stacton)

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“A stylistic virtuoso, matching on the typewriter the lightning flashes of such musical masters as Paganini on the violin,” The Chicago Tribune

“THE MURDER SPECIALIST is recommended to all fans of noir mysteries, and those who enjoy unexpected twists to an otherwise familiar crime story.” Bookgasm

Hal Williams is a specialist with one particular talent to sell: contract murders that appear to be accidents. He’s a professional who does his job with cool, calm, and calculated detachment…or so it seems. It’s all part of a long-term plan for ultimate revenge. But just when everything is coming together…he meets Unne, a mobster’s coldly sensual mistress, a kindred spirit with a dark, devastating secret of her own…and everything changes.

Bud Clifton was a pseudonym for David Derek Stacton (1923-1968), an acclaimed American poet and author, under various names, of literary fiction, historical novels, and soft-core gay porn. He was a two-time recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and also received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work ranged from lurid tales like D is for Delinquent to a non-fiction book about the fall of Constantinople. His books under his own name include The Bonapartes, The Judges of the Secret Order, A Signal Victory and People of the Book: A Novel of the Thirty Years War. He died in Denmark in 1968.

PRAISE FOR DAVID STACTON (aka BUD CLIFTON):

“John Banville comes to mind as an author who so easily switches gears from fustian to fetid….[his] peculiar blend of the oracular and the mischievously ironic makes him an invaluable cicerone in any setting, ancient or modern….it is fascinating to watch Stacton working out in the noirs the kind of novelist he would become. From the beginning, Stacton is drawn to a certain kind of person, the kind who is the ‘victim of the propulsive force of his own character.'” Los Angeles Review of Books

“The prose of David Stacton is like that of no other writer. It suggests a corridor in a dark Gothic tower, ill-lit by tapers, at one end of which a gong sounds incessantly. Stacton’s gong clashes are malevolent aphorisms, asides spoken to Nemesis, hard little explanations of motive.’ Time Magazaine

“The most unjustly neglected American novelist of the post-war years, David Stacton’s ambitious high style and melodrama have seen him banished. It’s time for a return to favour. Few writers have managed more fully than Stacton to bear out Gore Vidal’s maxim that writers shouldn’t ‘write what they know” but, rather, what they imagine or suspect.’… and yet, Stacton himself can be seen to hide in plain sight behind everything he wrote.” The Guardian (London)

“His prose reveals great cultural depth and breadth. He uses language lovingly. Almost every sentence contains a striking metaphor or simile. Aphorisms sparkle from paragraph to paragraph.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“David Stacton is a major writer who has the approval of critics but so far lacks the consent of readers at large. In short, it’s the story of literary virtue unrewarded…his novels are enjoyable as well as admirable.” Oakland Tribune

FRISCO FLAT by Stuart James

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When his father is beaten-to-death, Korean War vet and ex-prize fighter Frankie Cargo returns to his home in the small, northern California waterfront town of Frisco Flat. Cargo has inherited his father’s fishing boat business and trouble from Sam Barlow, the vicious local cannery owner who rules the town with fear…and with the iron fist of the psychopathic and corrupt Sheriff. If that wasn’t bad enough, Barlow gets involved with the Sheriff’s lover, the voluptuous Tosca Sorrento, who wants more than any man can give. But Barlow won’t be pushed…and never backs down from a fight.

“Pretty darned good. Frisco Flat moves along well. The book is a little better written, a little more literary, than many hard-boiled novels.” James Reasoner, author of Texas Wind

“The pacing is brisk and the action sequences are exciting.” The Reading California Fiction Blog

STUART JAMES grew up in rural Pennsylvania and at 15 went to work as a sports reporter for the Delaware Valley Advance. Later. while attending Temple University, he was a copy boy for the Philadelphia Record, then served a stint in an intelligence unit in the Army. Newspaper work took him all across the country before he abandoned journalism, invested in a used Royal typewriter. and wrote adventure stories “by the pound”—meanwhile holding down such jobs as hunting guide, truck driver, bartender, rough carpenter, carnival barker, cannery worker, and ice cream salesman—as the rejections flooded in. At age 28, while working on a tuna boat out of Monterey, California, he sold his first story to a pulp magazine for $100. Several hundred stories later, when the short fiction markets started drying up, he became a staff writer, then executive, for a series of magazines. including Popular Mechanics and True. Finally, he quit magazines to become a a PR copywriter as well as ghostwriter and scriptwriter. “All the stuff any writer does,” he said. Many of his professions inform the milieus and character portraits in his novels. In 1992, the year of his last known published book, he was making his home between residences in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Cedar Key, Florida. At this writing (October, 2020), there is no further information known as to his whereabouts (he would be 98 if still alive) or passing. (Biography courtesy of David Spencer)

The Best Pulp Noir Fiction Volume Four: Four Hard-Boiled Novels

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Four complete novels of raw, hard-boiled, pulp noir greatness by four masters of the genre, back-in-print for the first time in sixty years.

I Like It Tough by James Howard * Killer Take All by Philip Race * Be My Victimby Robert Dietrich * And Be My Love by Ledru Baker Jr.

I LIKE IT TOUGH
It’s 1955 in Neon City, USA. The vice syndicate’s slimy tentacles stretched everywhere through the corrupt city and only reporter Steve Ashe knows the dark story behind the multi-million dollar traffic in dope and white slavery. And because he knows…he’s a walking dead man.

KILLER TAKE ALL
They call him Johnny Berlin and he has an instinct for cards… for trouble…and for women. He’d dealt at all the biggest tables in Reno and Vegas. He’d told the head of the gambling syn­dicate to go to hell–and repeated the message to his hired killers. He’d had women throwing themselves at him at every turn… and he loved it. That was Johnny Berlin. Who would have thought he’d find the dice loaded against him in a peanut-sized town off a back road in northern California? Who would have thought he’d fall for a nice girl? And who would have thought he’d risk his life for her? Nobody…least of all Johnny Berlin himself.

BE MY VICTIM
Coral City, Slade County, Florida in 1956. By day, the tourist robbery is genteel… practiced by scrubbed and bowing clerks, merchants, and restauranteurs who wait all year to gouge and swindle out-of-town customers. But it’s at night that the real money is made… at tourist cabins, at cockfights, and at plush, private clubs where the only winner is the house and nobody seems to care. Nobody except Pop Seegar, who owns everything that makse money and ruins lives in Slade County. But now Bruce Kendall, a stubborn, ex-Navy man & local building contractor, is unwilling to play Seegar’s lucrative, rigged game of graft and corruption… and that is unacceptable to the mob boss. When an attempt murder Kendall goes explosively wrong, and Kendall goes on a rampage of retribution, Seegar finds a woman to lure Kendall to his doom and restore the natural order of vice and corruption once and for all…

AND BE MY LOVE
The blockbuster, million copy bestseller of 1951, a beloved Gold Medal classic, is finally back-in-print to enthral a new generation with it’s raw, powerful description of a passionate love affair that had no limits. She belonged to one man…a violent gangster…but she wanted another, a womanizing writer. So she seduces the writer and tricks him into a quickie Las Vegas wedding that puts them both in mortal danger.

THE CHEATERS by Ledru Baker Jr.

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She opened the door to love… and death walked in.

He looked at the woman, slim and beautiful, the woman he’d been hired to ruin. Then he saw her haunted eyes and fell in love. After that, it was the two of them together in a merry-go-round of hate and fear… and murder.

A crime lord strong-arms Jack Griffith, a struggling musician, into spying on his wife Mardi, who he suspects is cheating on him…but things go very wrong when Jack falls for her himself.

This book was adapted into the 1990 Canadian TV movie Frame Up Blues aka Le Danse du Scorpion

AND BE MY LOVE by Ledru Baker Jr.

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The blockbuster, million copy bestseller of 1951, a beloved Gold Medal classic, is finally back-in-print to enthral a new generation with it’s raw, powerful description of a passionate love affair that had no limits.

She belonged to one man…a violent gangster…but she wanted another, a womanizing writer. So she seduces the writer and tricks him into a quickie Las Vegas wedding that puts them both in mortal danger.