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

LIONS AT NIGHT by Richard Himmel

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A heart-racing thriller, packed with copious sex, international intrique, and unrelenting suspense

An undercover CIA agent living as a centerfold model and all-around hustler is the key player a deadly, global game of intrique and death where the players include a sexually-ravenous TV newswoman, a powerful Mafia don, and foreign assassins…. but who are actually the hunters and who are the prey for the lions at night?

“A taut thriller that builds to a blazing climax.” Publishers Weekly

CRY OF THE FLESH by Richard Himmel

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A nightclub singer becomes an unwilling spy in a high-stakes, cold war plot in Richard Himmel’s action-packed, espionage classic, back in print for the first time in over 60 years.

Ne’er-do-well playboy & lounge singer Buster Clayton, living in Italy on his ability to seduce wealthy women, is strong-armed by his brother, famous journalist Maxwell Payton, to help the daughter of a Russian diplomat defect with a cache of secret documents that will make an explosive story… and spark an international incident. But all is not what it seems, and soon Buster and the woman, a seductive and deadly cipher herself, are fleeing through Europe, running a gamut of sex, lies, betrayals, and certain death.

“A famous foreign correspondent with a story to get and a secret to hide, a fanatical girl communist who will stop at nothing to serve her cause, and a night club performer who gets way out of his depth add up to plenty of excitement,” Oakland Tribune

“Richard Himmel was an outstanding writer… likely to please readers of well-written hardboiled crime who are also comfortable with some romance and human drama in their stories.” The Paperback Warrior

THE 23RD WEB by Richard Himmel

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“Slick…there is action, conspiracy, plenty of sex. Himmel knows how to keep everything at a boil. He’s a good storyteller in the Arthur Hailey style. There is so much action that the reader is swept along. It’s like a B-movie of international intrigue. This book will amuse and entertain you.” The New York Times

A cold-blooded Arab sheik and his army of psychopathic terrorists use blackmail, kidnapping and murder to force hundreds of rich Amercan Jews to stop giving money to Israel, part of a complex effort to economically cripple the Jewish nation. One man, Justice department attorney Peter Frankel, leads the fight against the insidious plot, drawing him into an inescapable web of twisted sex and brutal violence.

“Kinky, muscular and menacing,” Vogue Magazine

“The simplicity of Himmel’s plot is what makes his book fascinating. ..and it all seems very plausible. The characters are believable (with) large doses of sex sprinkled liberally throughout.” Berkeley Gazette

“Notable for its ingenuity…the conflict is entertaining as the terrorists and American supporters of Israel face each other in a battle of nerves and wills.”South Bend Tribute

“A surprising climax.” Tampa Tribune

“The pace of the action is steady and the wind-up is satisfying.” Publishers Weekly

THE CHEAT by Robert Dietrich

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Robert Webster goes to Paris to find himself, and his creative soul, after doing hack-work as a Hollywood screenwriter. He finds Hildreath instead — rich, beautiful, dissolute, who fled to France to satisfy deep, carnal desires no American woman would dare admit to feeling. They begin an affair that’s comfortable and warm… until he makes a shocking discovery that reveals her raw, naked lust. There’s no love in what she’s doing. It’s coarse and cruel and undeniable. .and it will shatter their lives.

BRUTE MADNESS by Ledru Baker Jr.

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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. 

The Best Pulp Noir Fiction Volume Three: 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 Scarlet Venus by Chalmers Green * I’ll Find You by Richard Himmel * The Lusting Drive by Ovid Demaris * The Judas Hour by Howard Hunt

THE SCARLET VENUS
A wickedly subversive, unpredictable and powerful hard-boiled masterpiece…lost for generations, now rediscovered. Soldier McQuade is a prizefighter in New York who goes back to his rural home when his widowed sister-in-law dies, leaving behind two kids. He’s accompanied by Tennessee Bell, his other sister-in-law, who is on the run from a violent lover. But that simple, seemingly conventional starting point doesn’t begin to do this story justice… and to say more would spoil the stunning plot twists that veer shockingly away from every cliche.

I’LL FIND YOU
Johnny Maguire is a struggling lawyer who falls into a passionate affair with the widow of one of his clients. She disappears… supposedly taking a suicide dive into the ocean. But Maquire doesn’t buy it and starts searching for her…a quest that pits him against the mob and spirals into a twisted story of sex and murder.

THE LUSTING DRIVE
Guy Hill is pure evil, a washed-up movie star who returns to his hometown, seduces & marries the owner of the furniture company that is the life blood of the entire community, and then he murders her. He takes over the business and becomes the local King, holding everyone in the thrall and terror of his lusting drive for sex and power. His only adversary is his one-armed brother, the local Sheriff, who is powerless to stop him…until the car belonging to Guy’s “missing” wife is pulled from the cold depths of a local resevoir. Now Guy’s grip on power begins to erode, exposing the dark passions, deep corruption, and the lusting drives of everyone in the town.

THE JUDAS HOUR
He had to destroy this evil woman. This woman he had once wanted with an animal passion. She brought him back from a living death, rescued him from degredation. But that had been no act of kindness and love. It had been, instead, part of a deliberate and fiendish plan. For now she felt that she owned him, that his life was hers. And she would use him as a piece of machinery, to be discarded on the junk heap the minute his usefulness was over. Yes, he’d been allowed to live… only so he could die.

ONE FOR THE ROAD by Robert Dietrich

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This is life… stripped naked…

It’s 1954. The man’s name is Larry Roberts. His home is the highway, working the rich widow racket from Miami to L.A. Now he gets into bed with a lusty young socialite who is plotting her own deadly twist on double indemnity…and the sucker this time might just be him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Dietrich was a pseudonym for E. Howard Hunt, better known for his role in the Watergate scandal rather than for his great crime novels. Gore Vidal wrote this about “Robert Dietrich” in The New York Times: “In 1957, H.H. gave birth to ‘Robert Dietrich.’ who specialized in thrillers, featuring Steve Bentley, formerly of the CID and now a tax consultant. H.H. plainly enjoys composing plausible (and implausible) biographies for his characters—not to mention for himself. In Contemporary Authors, H.H. composed a bio for his pseudonym Robert Dietrich, taking ten years off his age, putting himself in the infantry during Korea, awarding himself a Bronze Star and a degree from Georgetown.”

BE MY VICTIM by Robert Dietrich

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“The action is fast and furious,” The Brooklyn Daily

“A hard-boiled yarn with an authentic, Florida background. The hero battles town bosses at an excessive price in violence and murder. Dietrich knows his stuff and handles it well,” The Boston Globe

Land of the Eternal Sucker. That was Coral City, Slade County, Florida in 1956. By day, the tourst 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…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Dietrich was a pseudonym for E. Howard Hunt, better known for his role in the Watergate scandal rather than for his great crime novels. Gore Vidal wrote this about “Robert Dietrich” in The New York Times: “In 1957, H.H. gave birth to ‘Robert Dietrich.’ who specialized in thrillers, featuring Steve Bentley, formerly of the CID and now a tax consultant. H.H. plainly enjoys composing plausible (and implausible) biographies for his characters—not to mention for himself. In Contemporary Authors, H.H. composed a bio for his pseudonym Robert Dietrich, taking ten years off his age, putting himself in the infantry during Korea, awarding himself a Bronze Star and a degree from Georgetown.”