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
A lost literary classic, back-in-print for the first time in 60 YEARS, a powerful novel in the tradition of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
It’s 1959. Matthew Scott is a widowed, alcoholic reporter from New York who seeks personal and professional redemption when he’s sent to the Deep South to write about a town that is defying a U.S. Supreme Court decision to integrate blacks into schools. His mere presence is a catalyst that ignites long-buried racial, political, religious, and personal conflicts among the residents, both white and black, ripping the town apart. Those tensions violently explode when Scott is falsely arrested by the bigoted, tyrannical sheriff for the rape and murder of an out-spoken black schoolteacher.
This is a stunning, shockingly vivid portrait of a dark time in America’s history, a tale of intolerance, bigotry and hope that’s as relevant today as it was sixty years ago…
Praise for FACE OF MY ASSASSIN:
“At sixty-one years distance it’s hard not to read this novel for the remarkable social document it is, for what it says about segregation in the 1950s. The issues Face of My Assassin raises are sometimes brutal and obvious but there’s a lot of subtly here too. As integration is coming to the fore this novel explores prejudice in all its forms –institutional, paternalistic, unconscious — but also the possibility of change and the way people see their own racism. It’s a powerful piece of writing.” NB Magazine UK
“Jan Huckins and Carolyn Weston have a true ear for Southern speech, a sharp eye for Southern style, and an acute feeling for the South…they have treated eloquently a significant segment of the current Southern tragedy in perhaps the only way the sad tale can be told — as fiction with a heavy beat of melodrama.” Arkansas Gazette
“A vivid portrait of a community…the book’s detail is surprisingly sharp. The authors have told a moving story filled with passion and pathos, and a little joy. The final effect is a telling denunciation of racial prejudice.” Arizona Daily Star
“An exciting melodrama dealing with integration in the South…a thorough examination of southern racial attitudes. The book has the power to move and enlighten reader.” Los Angeles Times
“Written in a smooth, expert style, [with] a plot that outdoes Faulkner in imagination.” Dan Wakefield, The Saturday Review
“An exciting novel and one valuable because of its sociological meaning.” Lincoln Journal-Star
“This intense novel will hold your interest and send you racing from page to page as you observe an almost imperceptible change in a bigoted small town. The characters vibrate with life and make this novel one of the most vital of the year.” Napa Valley Star
“A romantinc-realistic novel about the present-day South. This is an especially thought-provoking novel, sympathetic to black and white, and written with admirable objectivity.” Pittsburgh Courier
“They write with indignation and authority, with urgency and verve.. [the book] has something significant to say and tells its story with pace and narrative skill.” Rocky Mountain Telegraph
“While the novel is good melodrama, one may hope that it is also true prophecy. Face of My Assassin makes good reading and has the additional value of suggesting that the problem of segregation-integration issue is not so much that the Southern people have unenlightened opinions as that many of them are too lethargic to stand up and be counted as enlightened ones.” MANAS Journal, Explorations in Ethical Thought