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

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.

THE GOLD PLATED SEWER by Ovid Demaris

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The second action-packed, hard-boiled Vince Slader PI novel

“When Freddie Sharpe starts to sing a million teenagers get sent the facts of life. Special delivery…”

Ex-cop turned PI Vince Slader is hired to protect Freddie Sharpe, an obscenely rich, obscenely arrogant, obscenely talented, and obscenely obscene big name singer… who moves through the sin-filled mansions, back alleys, bars, clubs and studios of Tinseltown with an entourage of hangers-on and sychophants, any one of whom could be homicidally jealous of their not-so-benevolent benefactor.

“Demaris saturates the prose with gunplay, fast cars and sexy women. The criminals are edgy, but the hero is a valid, uncompromising tough guy who serves as the perfect crime combatant.” The Paperback Warrior

“Demaris is a writer of real talent…as good as pulp fiction gets.” NB Magazine UK

“Whoever said crime doesn’t pay has never spoken to Ovid Demaris.” New York Times

SLADER: Two Full Novels by Ovid Demaris

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Two raw, hard-boiled novels featuring Vince Slader, an ex-cop turned PI, working the dark side of Hollywood.

THE LONG NIGHT

Slader is hired by a casino to hunt down a gambler with a $28,000 tab in return for a percentage of the debt. It seems like a straight-forward job until Slader winds up framed for murder. As if that isn’t bad enough, he becomes a target of hard-charging politicians and the West Coast mafia.

“An enjoyable 1950s crime-fiction novel that retains most of the flavor of the genre’s mid-century pioneers. If you are a fan of authors like Frank Kane and Mickey Spillane, The Long Night is sure to please.” The Paperback Warrior

THE GOLD-PLATED SEWER

Slader is hired to protect Freddie Sharpe, an obscenely rich, obscenely arrogant, obscenely talented, and obscenely obscene big name singer… who moves through the sin-filled mansions, back alleys, bars, clubs and studios of Tinseltown with an entourage of hangers-on and sychophants, any one of whom could be homicidally jealous of their not-so-benevolent benefactor.

“Demaris saturates the prose with gunplay, fast cars and sexy women. The criminals are edgy, but the hero is a valid, uncompromising tough guy who serves as the perfect crime combatant.” The Paperback Warrior

KILLER TAKE ALL by Philip Race (aka E.M. Parsons)

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They call him Johnny Berlin and he has an instinct for cards… for trouble…and for women.

KILLER TAKE ALL

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.

On his way from San Francisco, Johnny gets lost in the fog while driving the costal route to Portland, Oregon. Stopping to get directions from a stranger turns out to be deadly, when the man —a dangerous racketeer—turns up dead and Johnny is pegged as the killer. Now it’ll take all his smarts and toughness to save himself and the woman he loves.

THE VIOLENT ONES by E. Howard Hunt (Robert Dietrich)

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Paul Cameron walks out of prison after a stint for assault…and heads straight to Paris to find a lost shipment of gold that was smuggled in by the U.S. during WWII to fund the resistance. From the instant he lands in France, he’s plunged into a maelstrom of intrigue, violence, and murder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

E. Howard Hunt, who also wrote as “Robert Dietrich,” is best known for his role in the Watergate scandal rather than for his great crime novels.