Nicholas Litchfield is the author of the suspense novel Swampjack Virus and editor of eleven literary anthologies. He has contributed introductions to numerous books, including eighteen Stark House Press reprints of long-forgotten noir and mystery novels of the 1950s and ’60s.
The fate of the country depended on his knowledge and expertise — and how well he knew his own brother!
In a joint venture between the United States and Great Britain, the CIA and SIS have been covertly developing a highly sophisticated new cyber weapon. But then Peter Chapley, a key CIA operative working within SIS, mysteriously disappears in a London underground station while in possession of the prototype weapon. The Head of Weapons Intelligence at the CIA calls on Peter’s own brother, retired agent Roger Chapley, for help. Roger’s straightforward final assignment is to track down Peter in London and recover the weapon before it falls into enemy hands. The complicated part of the mission is determining whom to trust and what is fact from fiction, and whether or not his brother has turned traitor!
“Bond fans take notice: With Swampjack Virus, Nicholas Litchfield has penned a fast-paced spy-guy thriller filled to the brim with suspense and old-school intrigue. Swampjack Virus will leave readers shaken, stirred…and thirsty for more.”
— Matthew P. Mayo, Spur Award-winning author of Tucker’s Reckoning
“A fast-paced, well-plotted and gripping 21st century espionage thriller…Litchfield paints a pitch perfect portrait of a delightfully offbeat US spy who bucks the trend by coming out of the heat and into the cold. Swampjack Virus, with its ironic undertones, charismatic cast and nail-biting suspense, takes us on a high-speed, rollercoaster journey from the opulent colonial lake houses in New York State to the slate-grey industrial towns and bleak back lanes of England. Don’t miss the all-action adventure…”
— Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
“Swampjack Virus possesses all the qualities of a classic thriller. It is taut, intense and engaging from start to finish. Litchfield gives us a tale well worth our time.”
— Michael C. Keith, author of The Next Better Place
A Place To Pause
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #11)
Adventurous college friends uncover ancient revelations while exploring unmapped territory on an obscure trade route in Central Asia. For the sake of a science experiment, a man fearlessly embarks on an aerial expedition across Montana in the comfort of his wicker lawn chair. And on a remote island southeast of Madagascar, grisly violence arises when a naive traveler doesn’t present a gift to those who govern the area… A PLACE TO PAUSE is bulging with absorbing poetry, diverting travelogues, and spirited tales of far-flung adventure.
From savage, small island corruption and monstrous big-game hunting in Africa to hazardous American highways and dubious smuggling exploits in Southeast Asia, we proudly present poetry and prose by Jeff Alphin J.L.Austin, Roger Camp, Lorraine Caputo, Laurel DiGangi, William Doreski, Andrew Edwards, William Fleeson, David Hagerty, Ann Howells, Ben von Jagow, David Klein, Joan Mazza, Warren Merkel, Robin Michel, Michael Robinson Morris, James B. Nicola, Don Noel, Jennifer Swallow, Louise Turan, Ken Wetherington, and Melissent Zumwalt. Plus, new fiction and in-depth interviews with distinguished authors Mary Donaldson-Evans, Mark Jacobs, and Robert Wexelblatt
Trade Paperback | Lowestoft Chronicle Press | 03/30/2024
Lowestoft Chronicle | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
“A Place to Pause is a wonderful collection of work from the fine literary journal, the Lowestoft Chronicle. Anyone who loves travel writing, or just plain good writing, will enjoy the variety of voices and situations chronicled here. Fresh, original, unpretentious, these writers and their work take us to a surprising number of physical and emotional places. A pure delight.”
— Jim Daniels, award–winning author of Places/Everyone and Birth Marks
“A Place to Pause is a delightful blend of captivating stories that inspired me to step away from my desk and experience all the vast glories beyond our screens.”
—Brian Sacca, actor and screenwriter of Buffaloed
An Adventurous Spirit
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #10)
A brief stop in Missouri to see a buzzworthy dead pig and a local pickler assist a Californian family in avoiding a menacing encounter with drug smugglers. In New York City, a riled, hotshot salesman endeavors to hunt down the brazen thieves who made off with his briefcase and wallet in a crowded subway car. And a subway train driver with a history of fatalities on his service record is on the hunt for another victim… AN ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT shimmers with high adventure, comedy, drama, introspection, and intelligent observation.
From psychedelic taxi rides and dubious genealogical quests across the United States heartland to farcically troublesome road trips and intense ancestral pinball duels in Europe, we proudly present poetry and prose by Linda Ankrah-Dove, Robert Beveridge, Jeff Burt, DeWitt Clinton, DAH, Rob Dinsmoor, Mary Donaldson-Evans, Catherine Dowling, Tim Frank, James Gallant, Bruce Harris, Marc Harshman, Jacqueline Jules, Richard Luftig, Robert Mangeot, George Moore, James B. Nicola, and Robert Wexelblatt. Plus, exclusive interviews with award-winning authors Abby Frucht and Sheldon Russell.
“An amusing anthology of writing about travel from the online journal The Lowestoft Chronicle. In this new collection, editor Litchfield presents a selection of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and interviews about journeys. Overall, it’s entertaining, varied, and clever writing.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“I know every serious reader is awash with excitement when they accidentally discover a treasure trove of excellent writing. This volume lives up to its claim of spirited adventure… The poetry also is remarkable. This book is a great find.”
—Julia McMichael, Seattle Book Review
“The collected works in An Adventurous Spirit invite the reader to come away on a journey, and what a journey it is! This anthology is a wide-ranging showcase of Lowestoft Chronicle’s writers, and the reader cannot help but be changed by this collective force. This line from the poem “Druich” by James B. Nicola truly captures the essence of the book, “Though overseas it wears a foreign face/ enchantment is enchantment any place.”
— Cat Dixon, The Good Life Review Poetry Editor
“Across continents and even states of consciousness, An Adventurous Spirit moves deftly, displays a remarkable range, and reminds us why we crave travel literature. Read and enjoy!”
—Charles Holdefer, author of The Contractor
The Vicarious Traveler
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #9)
Rival explorers travel the world in a relentless search for the lost treasure of a ruthless Japanese pirate. A benevolent young American in Paris brings out the worst in a vulnerable, blind beggar. And on the North Shore of Massachusetts, freakishly hot winter weather turns a surfer’s fantasy into a horrifying nightmare… THE VICARIOUS TRAVELER sparkles with humor, drama, adventure, and delightful poetry.
From serene seaside towns on the Adriatic coast, and bustling fish markets in South Korea, to bone-rattling journeys across West Africa, and global warming ocean disaster across east coast America, we proudly present the work of Philip Barbara, Elaine Barnard, Douglas Cole, Michael Coolen, Rob Dinsmoor, Mary Donaldson-Evans, Joan Frank, Katie Frankel, Sharon Frame Gay, Dave Gregory, Mark Halpern, M. T. Ingoldby, Michael C. Keith, Jean L. Kreiling, Brian James Lewis, David Macpherson, Diane G. Martin, Matt Mason, Robert Garner McBrearty, Matthew Menary, Joe Mills, Matthew Mitchell, Dan Morey, Lawrence Morgan, James B. Nicola, Valerie Nieman, Don Noel, Olga Pavlinova Olenich, Robert Perron, Thomas Piekarski, Richard Charles Schaefer, Gary Singh, and Robert Wexelblatt. Plus, exclusive interviews with crime writer Timothy J. Lockhart and award-winning author Matthew P. Mayo.
“Charm, a love of travel, often sly humor, and a clear reverence of story make up the backbone of Lowestoft Chronicle.”
— Keith Rosson, author of The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City
“This cornucopia of riveting tales and vivid poetry lures a reader to myriad new destinations, both internal and external. The Vicarious Traveler beckons you to escape, and I savored every locale. From the richly drawn desolation of the Texas panhandle in Sharon Frame Gay’s “Song of the Highway” to the lush, bird-teeming lawns of “The Buzzing” by Philip Barbara; from the American nostalgia of “Mr. O’Brien’s Last Soliloquy” by Robert Garner McBrearty to the Turkish apple orchard of Dave Gregory, this collection abounds with amazing language, arresting insight, and sharply drawn landscapes. Fix a cup of tea and get ready to roam.”
— Linda Boroff, screenwriter of Murder in Fashion
“The Vicarious Traveler is a welcome travel-themed anthology that has something for everyone — adventure, crime, and humor all served up in sparkling prose and poetry. Editor Nicholas Litchfield has once again done admirable work in selecting and presenting a memorable miscellany of fiction, nonfiction, and verse that beckons to literary travelers and leads them onward from one entertaining stop to another, smoothly mixing the temptation to linger with the desire to race ahead and see what is next on this intriguing journey.”
— Timothy J. Lockhart, author of Smith and Pirates
“It’s no small feat to turn out a quality anthology on a yearly basis, and Nicholas has managed it no less than nine times. Kudos to him. In this so-called post-literate age, the world needs devotees of the word—publishers who provide a forum for creative expression and in so doing prevent the ageless art of story-telling from vanishing.”
—Michael C. Keith (from his Foreword to The Vicarious Traveler)
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #8)
A bizarre, formless man unsettles a mathematician in Mumbai. In Thailand, a rough journey by ferry turns into a chaotic roller-coaster ride of misery and despair for returning partygoers. And in Indonesia, villagers come to the aid of a foreign scientist stung by a scorpion, and a pleasure-seeker bravely suffers a traditional vein massage. The latest anthology, STEADFAST TREKKERS, is packed heavy with sharp, stimulating poetry and vibrant, entertaining prose.
From macabre train passengers in England, and determined car mechanics in Portugal, to strange taxicabs rides in Japan, and ghastly boat travel in Thailand, we proudly present the work of Joe Albanese, Charles Joseph Albert, Elaine Barnard, Roland Barnes, AN Block, Scott Dominic Carpenter, Rob Dinsmoor, Mary Donaldson-Evans, Brennen Fahy, Karen Fayeth, Sharon Frame Gay, Kenneth P. Gurney, Sabrina Harris, Jill Hawkins, Anthony Head, Tushar Jain, Michael C. Keith, Lenny Levine, Richard Luftig, Mary Beth Magee, Robert Mangeot, Todd McKie, George Moore, Frank Morelli, James B. Nicola, Saundra Norton, Olga Pavlinov Olenich, Jeanine Pfeiffer, Tamra Plotnick, Arianna S. Warsaw-Fan Rauch, Alistair Rey, Judy S. Richardson, Ruyi Wen, and Robert Wexelblatt. Plus, in-depth interviews with Canadian crime writer Dietrich Kalteis and historical fiction and mystery author Sheldon Russell.
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #7)
A knowledgeable scuba diver’s survival skills are tested when she comes face-to-face with a shark in the Florida Keys. In Japan, death and double-cross arise when two avaricious strangers hatch a double-murder plot. While overseeing construction of a freeway in Austria, an Autobahn engineer is presented with a startling discovery… The latest anthology, INVIGORATING PASSAGES, is loaded with sumptuous poetry and prose and heart-pounding adventure!
From wild hospital wards in Singapore and frantic motorbike rides though the wilds of Thailand, to garrulous taxi drivers in Romania and unhinged explorers in Antarctica, we present work by Elaine Barnard, Roland Barnes, Robert Boucheron, Charles Edward Brooks, Carrie Camp, Daniel DeLeón, Rob Dinsmoor, Mary Donaldson-Evans, Clare Goldfarb, Michael Goldman, Ivy Goodman, Paul Gray, Sam Grieve, Nick Harden, David Havird, Jacqueline Jules, Connie Kallback, Michael C. Keith, Robert Kerbeck, Richard LeBlond, Peter Marsh, Dan Morey, Mike Nagel, Beth Escott Newcomer, James B. Nicola, Dorene O’Brien, DM O’Connor, Olga Pavlinova Olenich, G.B. Ryan, Gary Singh, Knud Sønderby, Christopher Thornton, David A. Watson, and Laura Wyckoff. Plus, an in-depth interview with renowned mystery author James R. Benn.
“Two things one wants from an anthology: everything should be different and everything should be good. An anthology of travel writing—generously conceived, like this one—should serve up a variety of trips to surprise and stimulate the mental traveler. Invigorating Passages delivers on all counts, hits on all cylinders too. Here you will find journeys not only to varied locales in space and time but into the inexhaustible intricacies of human psychology, adventures of all sorts and in every genre: poetry, nonfiction, stories. The writing is skilled, the choices rich, the passages manifold, and the invigoration unfailing.”
— Robert Wexelblatt, award-winning author of Zublinka Among Women
“Invigorating Passages, the seventh enthralling book in the magazines anthology series, offers up offbeat fiction, stimulating poetry, incisive interviews and engaging creative non-fiction, all with a sharp focus on those spirited souls who revel in taking to the skies, the seas and the roads in order to escape the humdrum everyday and rove the globe. Once again, editor Nicholas Litchfield, an English-born author who lives in Western New York, has put together an entertaining compendium of original and amusing travelogues, poetic reflections, and tales of far-flung adventure that range from science fiction and fantasy to mystery and crime, offering something for all tastes.”
— Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Post
“A wonderful collection from a fine literary journal that transports readers to places they’ve never been. A plan for murder in Japan, a strange discovery in Austria, putting out fires in Portugal, lost on a motorbike on the backroads of Thailand, a shark encounter off Key West, a cruise to the Galápagos, and so much more. Fine writing that stirs the imagination, often amuses and always entertains.”
— Dietrich Kalteis, award-winning author of Ride the Lightning
“Invigorating Passages is a powerful literary passport — this adventurous anthology is all stamped up with exciting travel-themed writing. With humor, darkness, and charm, its lively prose and poetry will drop you into memorable physical and psychological landscapes. Pack your bags!”
— Joseph Scapellato, acclaimed author of Big Lonesome
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #6)
Inside GRAND DEPARTURES: A married couple quickly regret winning a luxury holiday for two when they’re caught in the middle of a foreign revolution. In France, an outspoken wine critic seeks absolution for his scathing reviews when he’s barred from sampling the latest saintly concoctions. And in Narodistan, a father will stop at nothing for the safe return of his daughter from Florida…
Features the best prose and poetry from the literary magazine Lowestoft Chronicle. Includes prose and poetry by Elaine Barnard, Roland Barnes, William Quincy Belle, Doug Bolling, Bill Cole, Eileen Cunniffe, Colin Dodds, Liz Dolan, Nancy Ford Dugan, Justine Dymond, Gina Ferrara, Nancy Scott Hanway, David Havird, Ashley Mace Havird, Caroline Horwitz, Michael C. Keith, Tina Koenig, Robert Mangeot, Robert Garner McBrearty, Frank Mundo, Ryan Napier, Jim Plath, Christina Selby, Scott Solomon, J.E.A. Wallace, and Olga Wojtas.
“The stories, poems, and essays in Nicholas Litchfield’s latest anthology, Grand Departures, are haunting, idiosyncratic, and unexpected, like the true delights of travel.”
— Ivy Goodman, award-winning author of Heart Failure and A Chapter from Her Upbringing
“A father putting his life on the line searching for his daughter in the swamps of Florida, a girlfriend who finds her soul mate on a butte in the Badlands, a wife who tolerates her husband’s eccentricities in Vatican City, and a writer and his agent traveling from one bizarre topic to another to find the perfect, next thing in literature. These are only a smattering of the poignant and funny stories, memoirs, and poems found in this must-have collection of travelers’ delights and demons.”
— Nancy Caronia, contributor to Somewhere, Sometime and co-editor of Personal Effects
“An impressive collection of travel works that sweeps the reader across the globe. The characters here, though sometimes lost in distant lands and curious customs, never fail to be lost in wonder. Here is your ticket to travel with them, to lose yourself in these pages, to satisfy your inner nomad.”
— Dorene O’Brien, award-winning author of Voices of the Lost and Found
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #5)
Inside OTHER PLACES: A university scholar discovers an extraordinary book in a public library that leads him on an adventure through Greece to converse with the prophetess, Sibyl. In Brazil, an attractive, flirtatious woman leads a surfer to battle more than just the waves. And in Pamplona, disaster strikes at the festival of San Fermin when the Running of the Bulls event takes a dangerous turn…
Features the very best prose and poetry from the literary magazine Lowestoft Chronicle. Includes work by Raymond Abbott, William Quincy Belle, Peter Biello, Robert Boucheron, Geoffrey B. Cain, Scott Dominic Carpenter, Stephen Cloud, Mary Donaldson-Evans, Soren A. Gauger, David Hagerty, David Havird, C.B. Heinemann, Michael C. Keith, Victor Robert Lee, Robert Mangeot, dl mattila, Joe Mills, John Mueter, Matt Nestor, Mona Zutshi Opubor, Jay Parini, Kevin Quigley, Sheldon Russell, Robert Sachs, James Stark, and Allister Timms.
“In the age of tweets and sound bites, it’s heartening to read Other Places, a publication celebrating the power and beauty of a story well told.”
—Sheldon Russell, author of the Hook Runyon Mystery series
“Other Places, a mouth-watering feast of short stories, poems, narrative non-fiction, and in-depth interviews, is the latest anthology from the much-admired Lowestoft Chronicle, an eclectic and innovative online journal. Packed into the pages are stories to entice, enthral, and entertain. Litchfield also serves up a tasty blend of pleasing and deftly prepared poems. And if you still aren’t sated by this literary banquet, tuck into Litchfield’s incisive and enlightening interviews with three critically acclaimed, multitalented writers.”
—Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
“I really loved the latest anthology from Lowestoft, Other Places. It’s a brilliant, savory, sharp, amusing and varied taste of my favorite magazine, Lowestoft Chronicle. I’m delighted that a place exists for this kind of travel writing—if that’s a term for it. And it’s not a good one. This is just great writing about place, ranging from the spirit of place to the human spirit. Go anywhere with Lowestoft. And enjoy the trip.”
—Jay Parini, internationally bestselling author of The Passages of H.M.
“Other Places is the usual delightful mix of stories, poems, author interviews, and non-fiction gleaned from the pages of the Lowestoft Chronicle, the only literary magazine I read on a regular basis. Always entertaining and insightful, Other Places is well worth your time, whether you’re a veteran traveler or a hermit like me!”
—James Reasoner, Rough Edges
“Armchair travelers, rejoice! Editor Nicholas Litchfield has released Lowestoft Chronicle’s anthology for summer 2015, Other Places. Filled with fiction, nonfiction and poetry about travel and destinations, the book brings the far corners of the world to the reader’s armchair. The stories and poems vary in tone from dead serious to delightful whimsy, offering something for every taste. Humor, adventure and mystery share the pages with intriguing result.”
— Mary Beth Magee, Examiner.com
“Sick of fly-by journalism and travel dilettantes? The antidote is Lowestoft Chronicle’s most recent anthology, Other Places—a collection of essays, stories, and poetry devoted to the in-depth experience of culture. Whether humorous, touching, or revelatory, these expertly curated pieces throw you in contact with the real.”
—Scott Dominic Carpenter, author of Theory of Remainders
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #4)
Inside SOMEWHERE, SOMETIME: A young exchange student and five fat ladies with a monkey brawl with a stalker after a tense train journey through eastern France. In Italy, love blossoms between an American tourist and a fifty-year-old man living in a cave on the island of Capri. A new eight-lane freeway brings a community to a sudden grinding halt…this anthology is crammed with scintillating tales!
Featuring the very best prose and poetry from the quarterly magazine Lowestoft Chronicle, and taking the reader to faraway and exotic places, we proudly present the work of Jason Braun, Nancy Caronia, Tim Conley, Brian Dennehy, Kim Farleigh, Sue Granzella, Ed Hamilton, Andrew House, Michael C. Keith, Nick LaRocca, Matthew P. Mayo, Rob McClure Smith, George Moore, Susan Moorhead, Jay Parini, Yvonne Pesquera, Thomas Piekarski, Chuck Redman, Michael Solomon, Jackie Strawbridge, and Laine Strutton. Includes an extended interview with New York Times bestselling author James Reasoner.
“The latest collection of prose and poetry from the Lowestoft Chronicle is a genuine pleasure. Take it with you on your next trip, no matter how far or flung. Nicholas Litchfield has put together something very special, something to celebrate, enjoy, savor.”
— Jay Parini, bestselling author of The Last Station and Why Poetry Matters
“What a lovely book. Well designed, thoughtfully laid out, and with a grand assortment of content. I’m flattered and honored to be in the mix.”
— Matthew P. Mayo, Spur Award-winning author of Tucker’s Reckoning
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #3)
Inside INTREPID TRAVELERS: A boat tour of the river Seine becomes a battle of wills as a relentless salesman coaxes a tourist with a magnificent upgrade; armed with a slingshot, a brave boy tries to save his father from Peru’s legendary black-feathered predator; a playboy adventurer attempts to conquer Everest and the woman he loves …this anthology is crammed with exhilarating tales.
Featuring the very best prose and poetry from the quarterly magazine Lowestoft Chronicle, and taking the reader to faraway and exotic places, we proudly present the work of Jada Ach, Jack Austin, Brian Conlon, Steve Gronert Ellerhoff, Bruce Gatenby, Sharleen Jonsson, Michael C. Keith, David Klein, Hector S. Koburn, Barth Landor, Robert Mangeot, dl mattila, Mark J. Mitchell, Lynn E. Palermo, Tamara Kaye Sellman, Denise Thompson-Slaughter, and Dennis Vanvick. Also includes exclusive interviews with foremost David Dodge biographer Randal S. Brandt, legendary Western writer James Reasoner, and New York Times bestselling author and intrepid traveler Franz Wisner.
“Intrepid Travelers is an exhilarating, uplifting and offbeat journey to the world’s most exciting and exotic locations; a paean to life’s adventurers, those plucky, inspirational souls who travel to enjoy rather than to arrive. From frank and fascinating interviews…to poetic musings on piano playing, an Ice Age grotto and those terrifying moments of plane take-off, Intrepid Travelers is a coruscating cornucopia of humour, drama and big, beautiful adventures. Highly original and entertaining. Don’t miss it!”
— Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
“Without a single stinker or filler piece in the bunch, this wonderful 160-page ‘little’ anthology definitely bids well for the strength of work the online magazine version must regularly publish. I was extremely impressed, after reading it, with the variety and quality of the writing. There’s something here for everyone to check out between novels while on vacation or holiday, a lunch break, or even while you’re waiting to board a plane, train or bus. Intrepid Travelers is a solid collection of funny and fine travel-themed stories, poetry, essays and interviews that easily fits in a back pocket or carry-on bag.”
— Frank Mundo, Examiner.com
“You should be extremely proud of the work you’ve been doing with the Lowestoft Chronicle. It’s unique and the quality of the writing is amazingly high.”
— Luke Rhinehart, internationally bestselling author of The Dice Man
“Refreshing and well-written, Intrepid Travelers takes the reader to a wide variety of literary destinations, and makes even a confirmed hermit like me want to get up and go somewhere. Highly recommended.”
— James Reasoner, Rough Edges
Far-flung and Foreign
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #2)
A crime-fighting reporter battles a dragon and a grave robber; a student falls in love at a leper colony in Tajikistan; an alien emerges in a café in Baoji …this anthology is crammed with scintillating tales!
Action, intrigue, romance, and adventure — your boss may not be familiar with these words, and if he is he may not think they occur outside the workplace. This is your chance to tell him he’s wrong. Beyond his wilting glare beckons the shimmering, fun-packed FAR-FLUNG AND FOREIGN, featuring the very best prose and poetry from the quarterly magazine Lowestoft Chronicle. Laden with dragons, lepers and Barbie dolls, and transporting readers to far-flung places, we proudly present the work of Vanessa Blakeslee, Will Buckingham, Joan L. Cannon, Lorraine Caputo, Martina Clark, Rijn Collins, Laury A. Egan, Michael Frissore, Bruce Gatenby, Kathie Giorgio, Charles Haddox, Rick Hartwell, Paul Kavanagh, Michael C. Keith, Benjamin Kensey, Wayne Lee, A. L. Means, Nicholas Rombes, Gordon West, and Scott Younkin.
“A tip of the hat (sombrero, fez) to Lowestoft Chronicle for fueling our urge to turn off Jersey Shore, toss our cell phones into a lake, and go embrace this amazing planet of ours. Bon Voyage!”
— Franz Wisner, New York Times bestselling author of Honeymoon with My brother and How the World Makes Love
“The writing here is fresh, surprising, and alive. Not to be missed is the bittersweet interview with the author Augustine Funnell. (Please write more!) The book looks and feels great.”
— Nicholas Rombes, author of Ramones and A Cultural Dictionary of Punk
Lowestoft Chronicle 2011 Anthology
(Lowestoft Chronicle Anthology Series, #1)
The world has gone digital. The physical book has been replaced by an electronic one; the family vacation has been replaced by the ‘work retreat’. Today, the print anthology seems as unfashionable and outdated as the notion of travel for recreational purposes. In defiance of social trends, and common sense, we bring you the Lowestoft Chronicle 2011 Anthology – a collection of our favorite stories, poems, and creative non-fiction pieces from the first year of our quarterly online magazine. Lose yourself in the work of Lisa Abellera, Jennine Cap Crucet, Tim Conley, Michael Connor, Ron D’Alena, Brinna Deavellar, William Doreski, Laury A. Egan, Jack Frey, Katherine Hinkebein, Tyke Johnson, Michael C. Keith, Tom Mahony, Eric G. M ller, Jeremy Rich, FrankRoger, Phil Smith III, Davide Trame, Howard Waldman, and Aida Zilelian.
“This is a fine anthology that I found both provocative and enjoyable. Highest praise: it made me want to write short stories again.”
— Luke Rhinehart, author of the cult classic The Dice Man
“All things considered, it might just be a very good thing if the Lowestoft Chronicle were to achieve their goal of world domination.”
— Cheryl LaGuardia, e-Views, Library Journal
Portrait in Smoke / The Longest Second by Bill S. Ballinger
(Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
PORTRAIT IN SMOKE
Danny April is obsessed. He buys out a little collection agency in Chicago, and that’s how he first meets Krassy. He’d never seen anyone so beautiful. She was Krassy Almauniski then, when he first runs across her picture in his files. She’s gone through several identities since then. As Danny tries to track her down, each new name presents him with a portrait of a woman on the move. Krassy is climbing up the social ladder, one sucker at a time. There’s the photographer who signs off on a charge account for her, later arrested for larceny. And the ad executive… he gets off lightly. He gets to walk away with his pride. Not all the men who Krassy meet are so lucky. But Danny knows he’ll be different. So he keeps looking… until at last he finds her.
THE LONGEST SECOND
When I awakened, I stared straight above me at the ceiling … I attempted to turn my head. It was then I realized that my throat had been cut. The pain ran down both sides of my neck … I gasped, choking for air. The next day I regained consciousness again … Suddenly it struck me that I didn’t know my own name!… They check his fingerprints and find out that his name is Victor Pacific. He has no memories of who he is, what he is, or why someone tried to kill him. He remembers the name Horstman. But he has no idea of how to find him. All he can do is to begin a search for the clues to his former life. Then he meets Bianca—but will she be able to help him before they strike again?
“A nearly forgotten master of the mystery novel, Bill Ballinger may once again astound readers with this new edition from Stark House Press, containing two of his exemplary works. Ballinger’s skill as a writer and his unique style are on full display. These classics are a must for anyone with an interest in noir storytelling.”
— James R. Benn, author of the Billy Boyle Word War II Mystery Series
“Ballinger’s writing is smooth and polished, and his control over the complex plot really had me turning the pages. This one hits the mark all the way around for me with the writing, the pace, the plot, and the compelling characters. Highly recommended.”
— James Reasoner, Rough Edges
“Two simply riveting reads under one cover, “Portrait in Smoke/The Longest Second is a very highly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs and suspense fans and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.”
— Reviewer’s Bookwatch
“In his introduction to this new volume, Nicholas Litchfield, editor of the Lowestoft Chronicle, a quarterly online literary magazine, revels in the republication of these two noir masterpieces, writing: ‘These two powerful, provocative tales from the Fifties are as fresh and impressive today as when they first startled and enthralled the world and earned their place as mystery classics.’ The Longest Second, says Litchfield, is ‘neither gimmicky nor contrived’ but ‘a cunningly deceptive work that is full of twists and shocks, and has a storyline intended to continually keep you guessing about the past and the present.’ Perfectly paired with Portrait in Smoke, these two exceptional novels are as fascinating and entertaining today as they were 60 years ago.”
— Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Post
The Baby Doll Murders / Killer Take All! / Frenzy by James O. Causey
(Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
THE BABY DOLL MURDERS
Cliff Tierney was trained by Markham to be the best, a carny’s carny. Then Holly entered his life and messed things up—and Markham had Tierney stomped. But that was months ago. Now Tierney is back, and Markham wants him to handle a blackmailer for him. Ann should be easy. She’s in love with Cliff. But then Markham brings Holly back into the picture, and the set-up becomes complicated. Because Holly’s father is the eminent Dr. Thad Ross, who not only controls the town but is involved in Ann’s blackmail scheme. And Holly, well she’s just as dangerous as her father, and more than a match for Tierney’s carny skills.
KILLER TAKE ALL!
Tony Pearson knows he is no match for Steve Locke, Fern’s new husband. Locke has the charm, the drive and the physical prowess he doesn’t. He also has Fern. But as a failed golf pro, Tony doesn’t have that many options either, and takes Locke up on his offer to work for Tony’s boss, Max Baird. Max is a reformed gangster trying to fit in. He even bought a Rembrandt to show off his class. But now he needs the bucks more than the art, and Locke calls in an expert to appraise the painting. That’s when they discover that the painting Max owns is a forgery. And who gets framed as the fall guy? Why, Tony, of course.
After the plan to snatch the boss’s girl and some of his casino profits backfires, Norman Sands rails it back to his hometown to lick his wounds. His brother Matt lives there, and Laurie, who used to be his girl, now engaged to Matt. But with Matt and Laurie’s help, Norm knows there is a killing to be made here, if he can just figure the angle. When he meets up with the town’s movers, he realizes that Murdoch is the real power here. And when he meets Shannon, he knows he has found the perfect match—she’s as greedy as he is. But Shannon is Murdoch’s girl, and Murdoch isn’t giving up anything without a fight.
“Stark House has compiled three of Causey’s classics into one volume for 21st Century audiences. The new trade paperback includes ‘The Baby Doll Murders,’ ‘Killer Take All,’ and ‘Frenzy’ as well as an introduction by Nicholas Litchfield. Despite problems of plot and pacing, Causey’s hardboiled, first-person prose is among the best. For example, his descriptions of acts of violence are vivid while also being matter-of-fact. Taking a professional beating in the groin, ribs, and kidneys is just an occupational hazard in this world, and those scenes were vivid as hell.”
— Paperback Warrior
“Stark House’s omnibus volume of The Baby Doll Murders/Killer Take All!/Frenzy hits the trifecta for noir action. James O. Causey amps up the suspense in each of these paperback novels from the Fifties. Nicholas Litchfield’s “Causey’s Fast, Frenzied Trio of Killer Novels” outlines James O. Causey’s writing career and provides details about this underrated writer.”
Borrow the Night / The Fifth Caller by Helen Nielsen
(Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
BORROW THE NIGHT
Judge Ralph Addison has been receiving threatening letters for the past six days, but he hasn’t taken them seriously. Until now. The seventh letter is followed up by a phone call. He is being watched. Perhaps this isn’t just a prank. The letter states that you will die when Messick dies, and is signed Mr. Justice. The judge had sentenced young Walter Messick to death for the murder of Faye Harper. But when he goes to the D.A. with his fears, he finds that Patrolman Matt Coleman, also involved in the case, has received the same threatening letters. And now that Messick’s execution is upon them, together they only have one day to find out the truth…or die at the hands of Mr. Justice.
THE FIFTH CALLER
Dr. Lillian Whitehall has been brutally murdered. D.A. Inspector Doug Marchall knows that the crime occurred at 5:20pm because she was bludgeoned to death with a clock. Everyone assumes that the murderer is her Hungarian nurse, Anna Bardossy, who is lying in a hospital bed, the victim of a suicide attempt and now suffering amnesia. But there were other callers that day: her high-strung patient, her exacting lawyer, her unemployed brother. They all paint a picture of poor put-upon Dr. Whitehall, badgered by her unfaithful nurse. But could there have been another caller, someone who knew what had happened to Anna and what had caused the doctor’s all-too-timely end?
“These well-plotted, compelling mysteries are a bit wordier than is typical in contemporary crime fiction but remain of interest to mystery fans, especially those interested in the genre’s history.”
“In his introduction to the double-novel collection, writer Nicholas Litchfield, who is editor of the popular literary magazine Lowestoft Chronicle, describes Nielsen’s pair of unconventional whodunnits as ‘two exemplary mystery novels that are sure to leave you on edge and breathless and in search of more of her thrilling, intricate, and astutely written tales.’ Litchfield, a keen supporter of Borrow the Night, believes the strength of the novel lies in ‘the exceptionally well-sketched principal characters and the skilful way Nielsen drops hints and revelations and introduces unexpected plot twists to cast doubt on just about everybody.’ The Fifth Caller is an original mystery for the period because of its toughness, pace and invention, and for the measured way Nielsen presents realistic, complex characters in a fast-paced drama. A superior pair of unique tales which richly deserve a revival…”
— Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Post
Stairway to an Empty Room / Terror Lurks in Darkness by Dolores Hitchens (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
STAIRWAY TO AN EMPTY ROOM
Monica Marshall s sister Biddy has been murdered by her husband. Biddy has a daughter, Winifred, and with the husband on death row, Monica agrees to take charge of her. Winifred is anxious to leave the house where she has been living with Biddy. The house and the woman who runs it seem so unpleasant to Monica. But nothing prepares her for Stevens. He is managing a mountain retreat where Monica takes her new charge for a getaway–she hates him immediately. Strangely enough, Winifred recognizes the couple in another cabin. Soon Monica realizes that there is something very strange going on here. Her brakes fail … later she almost drowns in the lake. And Stevens is becoming very protective of young Winifred. What do all these people have to do with Biddy s death, and what is really going on here?…
TERROR LURKS IN DARKNESS
Kitty has the fright of her life one night when she takes what she is told is a short cut and ends up on a dead end street in the rain. And to make matters worse, there is a savage dog outside her car, causing her to wreck the front end trying to avoid it. Fortunately, the owner of the dog appears and calms the dog, then drives her home. But imagine Kitty s shock when she finds out that Sunny, the woman who told her about the short cut, is found dead later that night on the same road, her throat savaged. Of course, everyone hated Sunny, but that doesn’t explain her strange death. And now Kitty s roommate, Ardis, has gone missing … and two of her friends are asking her to lie about what she knows. No wonder inspector Doyle doesn’t believe her story she has no idea what to believe herself!
“The latest hardboiled double header from Stark House features two gripping tales from Dolores Hitchens, with an introduction by Nicholas Litchfield. Hitchens’ work is incredibly varied but consistent when it comes to depth of character and plotting. These distinct standalone tales of jeopardy display very different characteristics but they are both well told and there are enough twists to keep the keenest pulp fan guessing.”
— Paul Burke, NB
The Tooth and the Nail / The Wife of the Red-Haired Man by Bill S. Ballinger (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
THE TOOTH AND THE NAIL
As the trial begins, a man stands accused of murder. There is no body, but all the signs of a body’s disposal are in evidence. When the police search the accused man’s house, they find traces of blood in the bathroom, and a hastily-cleaned up furnace room, where it appears a body had recently been burned—there is burnt part of a leg bone, a false tooth, and off in a corner, the end of a finger. And the man’s chauffeur, who appears to have been blackmailing him, is clearly missing, now presumed dead. The prosecutor is presenting a very good case. Every indication points to murder. The defense lawyer is doing what he can, but his client’s cause appears to be hopeless. Only one man knows what really happened, and he’s the victim.
THE WIFE OF THE RED-HAIRED MAN
When Hugh Ronan escapes prison and returns to his first love, Mercedes, he finds her married to another man. Turner has no intention of giving up his wife and brandishes a gun to make his point. But it’s Turner who is killed, and now Ronan and Mercedes are on the run. Mercedes could have stayed and escaped the murder charge, but she makes her choice to help her red-haired love escape. Cashing out her bank account and taking her jewels with her, the two of them leave New York. But Turner had his fingers in a lot of political pies, and important people want this killing solved. Everyone figures that it must have been Mercedes who shot her husband. Only one city detective figures that there is someone else involved. Now the hunt is on.
“Novelist and editor Nicholas Litchfield provides an introduction that traces Ballinger’s career and the development of his dual-plot technique. Litchfield notes that both of these novels, originally published in the mid-1950s, were well praised by critics and reviewers. Contemporary readers will equally applaud these works and find them well worth their time. Ballinger is without question an author worthy of rediscovery. With luck these two novels will be the first in a series of representations of Ballinger’s mystery novels.”
— Alan Cranis, Bookgasm
“I’ve now read Bill S. Ballinger’s The Tooth and the Nail, which appears, along with The Wife of the Red-Haired Man, in a new volume with an interesting introduction by Nicholas Litchfield. I’ve not read Ballinger previously, and I hadn’t realised how good he is. On the evidence of this book, he was a gifted crime writer, who had something in common with Fredric Brown. Like Brown, he was interested in narrative technique, and the cunning with which he tells this particular tale is impressive.”
— Martin Edwards, Edgar Award-winning author of The Golden Age of Murder
A Rage at Sea / A Party Every Night by Lorenz Heller
(Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
A RAGE AT SEA
Frank Dixon has just lost his ship in a crap game, and is about to lose his woman as well, when Addams offers him a job captaining the Almacor. All he has to do is take the owner and his drunken guests around the Caribbean. Trouble is, Dixon hates Addams—doesn’t trust him, knows that Addams will sabotage him if he can. But Dixon only has this one chance to climb out of the bottle, one shot at redemption, and agrees to helm the yacht. Thank goodness he has young Wirt aboard. There’s one seaman he can trust. It’s not long before the drinking starts, the owner takes a swing at Wirt, and all hell breaks loose. Dixon knows that Addams is only waiting for his opportunity to stab him in the back, and this could be it.
PARTY EVERY NIGHT
Vance is the perfect bartender—tall, good-looking, funny, he charms them all. Particularly the waitress, Cora. But Vance only has eyes for Maddie. Unfortunately, Maddie is married to the town lush, Wes Elwood. Almost every night, you will find Maddie and Wes at Vance’s bar, belting down the Scotches and hating one another with a white heat. Tonight is different. Tonight Wes disappears in his car, and no one can find him. After closing, Vance takes Maddie out to all the after-hours bars looking for him, but all they get is one run-around after another, and no Wes. Then Wes is found drowned. And that’s when Durkin steps in, a cop who collects facts like some people collect stamps. Durkin has his own idea of what happened to Wes, and as far as he’s concerned, all those facts lead him back to Vance.
“I can’t recall a lean crime paperback from the 1950s with character development handled more adeptly than A Rage at Sea. Best of all, the book has been reprinted by Stark House Crime Classics as a double along with Lorenz’s A Party Every Night and an informative introduction by Nicholas Litchfield. Recommended.”
“This new Stark House Press edition presents two novels originally published in the early and mid-1950s, and showcases Lorenz’s skill at characterization. Editor and author Nicholas Litchfield provides a detailed introduction, tracing Lorenz’s writing career and the development of his character-driven technique. Crime fiction fans, even those who favor complex plots over characters, will find much to enjoy in these two novels. And Frederick Lorenz is an author they are likely to recommend to friends who usually avoid genre fiction.”
— Alan Cranis, Bookgasm
“Stark House Press is the premier publisher of ‘time lost’ mysteries by some of the best novelists to every publish in the Mystery/Suspense genre. Enhanced for contemporary readers with an informative introduction by Nicholas Litchfield, “A Rage at Sea / A Party Every Night” showcases for a new generation of mystery lovers the storytelling talents of Lorenz Heller writing under the pseudonym of Frederick Lorenz and originally published in 1953 and 1956 respectively. Especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.”
— Wisconsin Bookwatch
“As Nicholas Litchfield’s introduction points out; it’s character which drives plot in Lorenz’s fiction. In both novels the dialogue is crisp, the story edgy and populated by eccentric, volatile characters who just can’t get a grip on life.”
— Paul Burke, Crime Time
Footsteps in the Night / Beat Back the Tide by Dolores Hitchens
(Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT
The Southern California land had been in Dronk’s family for years, but he sold most of it to developers, and that’s how Dellwood came to be. Once a few new houses went up, they flocked to buy… Miss Silverter, the repressed spinster with a hidden passion. The brash, young Arthur family, including their stubborn old grandfather. The Holdens, a curious couple who feed off each other’s weaknesses. And the tightly-wound Bartletts, with their beautiful young daughter, who immediately befriends Dronk’s crippled teenage son. When she disappears one evening, the Bartletts naturally assume that the son is involved. But Dellwood is so full of secrets that the son is only one of Sheriff Ferguson’s suspects. They’re all guilty of something…
BEAT BACK THE TIDE
Glazer hires Francesca Warne as governess to his young son without realizing that she has a history with his cliff house. Her husband Adam had been shot to death on the beach below, back before Glazer bought it. Now she is asking Glazer to help her find out what really happened two years ago. So Glazer begins questioning the people involved: lovely, sensuous Mary Shelton, who married one of the men who used to own his house; the sadistic cop, Byronson, who still thinks Francesca was involved; pugnacious Conway, the other former owner, who knows more than he is telling; and Tremaine, Adam’s only friend. Glazer quickly learns that Adam Warne was a self-hating drunk who had been despised by most of the town—but who hated him enough to have killed him?
“The two stand-alone novels gathered here by Stark House Press, FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT and BEAT BACK THE TIDE, demonstrate Hitchens’s skill at presenting multiple characters within a single framework. Nicholas Litchfield, a noted editor, reviewer and author, provides an introduction where he notes how Hitchens made her mark in the mostly male-dominated publishing world of her time, and how she incorporates her fondness for closely held secrets and skeletons in the closet into her novels. As these two republished novels aptly demonstrate, Hitchens can easily be enjoyed by a new generation of mystery fiction fans, and is well worth a rediscovery.”
— Alan Cranis, Bookgasm
“In this perfect pairing of perplexing puzzlers from Stark House Press published in July, murder rattles skeletons in a number of closets, unlocking and shaking loose secrets both present and past. Do not miss author and editor Nicholas Litchfield’s most enlightening introduction, where he concludes that these ‘skeletons in the closet’ mysteries showcase the author at her very finest.'”
“Another couple of ‘time lost’ suspense gems by an author who was a master of the genre, “Footsteps In The Night / Beat Back The Tide” is especially and unreservedly recommended reading for all dedicated mystery buffs.”
— Wisconsin Bookwatch
Steal Big / The Big Caper by Lionel White
(Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
When Donovan is released from prison, he has a plan, and he brings his cellmate Barker and a few old acquaintances in with him. Now he’s got all five of them ready to pull off the bank job that will have him set for life. There’s Jo-Jo, ex-boxer, punch-drunk, ready to do anything he asks. And Barker, of course, an ex-con with nothing less to lose. Then there’s Mamma, the ruthless lady who owns the hideout, and her son Clarence, a bank teller with a fascination for crime. And Carol; young, blonde Carol. Carol’s dad is in prison for life, unless she can get the money to free him. For one reason or other, they all need this heist. And Donovan needs them all to pull it off. It seemed so simple when Donovan put the plan together―if only it had stayed that way.
THE BIG CAPER
Flood has got it all figured. The Florida bank in Indio Beach is ripe for the picking. All he needs is a crew. First he sends Frank and Kay down to pose as a couple and set up residence. Then he sends Kosta, his arsonist, to join them; followed by an old-timer to blow the safe, a couple of strong arm killers, and two guys to cut the power. He’s got the perfect team because none of them are part of the syndicate―they’ve got no ties to screw up his plans. But Flood doesn’t figure on Kosta getting drunk and setting a fire ahead of schedule just for the fun of it. He doesn’t figure on one of his killers bringing along a woman. And he sure doesn’t figure on Frank and Kay falling in love, and wanting to get out of the caper.
New introduction by Nicholas Litchfield, afterword by Cullen Gallagher.
“In his introduction, editor and author Nicholas Litchfield traces White’s career and influence on both his peers and later writers, while contrasting White’s serious fictional tone with his personal sense of humor and sarcasm. This is the fifth pairing of republished White novels from Stark House Crime Classics. From this, as well as the critical attention that bookends the two novels, it is clear that the publisher feels Lionel White deserves the attention lavished on many of his contemporaries. And these two novels are a fine place for newcomers to begin their discovery of Lionel White and see why he is considered the master of the big caper.”
— Alan Cranis, Bookgasm
“Lionel White, who wrote some of the best and authentic caper novels of the 1950s and 1960s, is well represented in this new STARK HOUSE volume. Nicholas Litchfield’s informative “The Learned, Bookless Master of the Big Caper” provides more information about Lionel White’s writing career than previous STARK HOUSE volumes. Don’t miss this latest terrific Lionel White Stark House collection!”
The Sailcloth Shroud / All the Way by Charles Williams (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
THE SAILCLOTH SHROUD
Stuart Rogers leaves Panama with two shipmates. One of them, Baxter, dies of a heart attack midway back to the States and is buried at sea. Once they dock, the other man, Keefer, is fished out of the bay three days later after having been pistol-whipped to death. He had been seen flashing a lot of money around the night before. But as far as Rogers knew, Keefer was broke. Now the cops want to know where the money came from. They don’t believe that Baxter really died at sea. Neither do the goons who pick up Rogers one night to beat the truth out of him. But if Baxter wasn’t who he seemed to be, one thing Rogers knows for sure is that he’s definitely dead―but who the hell was he?
ALL THE WAY
Marian Forsyth made Harris Chapman the prosperous man he is today. As his private secretary, she advised him on his acquisitions and turned him into a very wealthy man. She assumed she would become his second wife. But Harris made a foolish mistake: he fell in love with a younger, prettier woman. And now Harris must pay. And to that end, Marian creates a brilliant and detailed plan to steal $175,000 from him. All she needs is someone who sounds enough like Harris that he can become Harris long enough to pull it off. That’s where Jerry Forbes comes in―footloose, morally flexible, and completely obsessed with Marian. It’s the perfect match…. for the perfect crime.
“Of all the crime-fiction writers who came of age in the 1950s, churning out paperback originals for Gold Medal Books, Williams (1909–75) was one of the very best. Many of his 22 novels have been reprinted over the years…and with each new reissue, Williams’ devotees find themselves hoping that this will be the one to ignite a genuine revival. That ship may have sailed, but that doesn’t lessen the reading pleasure on offer in these two examples of fine craftsmanship. Both are jewels in their own way, but The Sailcloth Shroud (1959) shines a bit brighter. The shipboard scenes are crisply written and exciting, and the wrong-man scenario from which Rogers attempts to extricate himself is convincingly orchestrated. All the Way (1958), the second novel in this fine twofer, is equally well constructed.”
— Bill Ott, Booklist
“In his introduction, editor/author Nicholas Litchfield notes that these two novels, like most of Williams’s work, was well received and favorably reviewed when first published. But due to limited print runs, they seem disappeared into obscurity. While several of his works were adapted into movies, Williams remains, as Litchfield notes, one of the best-kept secrets in noir crime fiction.
All the more reason why all crime fiction fans should take note of these two reprints.”
— Alan Cranis, Bookgasm
Grey Face / The Green Eyes of Bast by Sax Rohmer (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
Douglas Carey awakens from a dream of a dead grey face with piercing eyes only to discover that he has lost a fair amount of the evening. It’s not long before he discovers that he has lost more than time, because the Foreign Office reports he has been working are missing as well. Could his loss of time be associated with the small figurine given to him by the mysteriously alluring Madame Sabinov? Has Carey been hypnotized in some way? With the help of Sir Provost and his friend Muir Torrington, Carey begins an investigation that leads them to the enigmatic M. de Trepniak. What is the power of the strange blue globe he keeps in a secret room? And what is the meaning of the grey face?
THE GREEN EYES OF BAST
When lawyer Jack Addison is called upon to view the seemingly empty garage of the Red House, little could he know that the crate he viewed inside held the dead body of Sir Marcus. But later that evening, when the crate accidentally breaks open, the body is discovered―and on the crate is a painting of a green cat. Stranger still, Addison’s beloved Isobel is implicated in Sir Marcus’s death. Who is trying to cast blame on Isobel, and what is the meaning of the green figurine of a cat woman that is found at the scene of the crime? And more chillingly, what is the meaning of the two great eyes that Addison sees staring up at him from the garden… two glittering cat’s eyes!
The Big Grab / The Savage Breast by John Trinian (Introductions by Brian Greene and Nicholas Litchfield)
THE BIG GRAB
Karl Heisler used to be a successful thief. But at 54, having spent fourteen years in prison, he’s getting old. His wife just wants him to play it safe. But he’s still got one more job in him. Which is where Frank Toschi, his former cellmate, comes in. Frank is a hard young man with a fair amount of brains and good old-fashioned guts. And he trusts Karl more than his own father. All they’ve got to do is break into the cash room at the Skyline House, a big gambling place, and they’ll both be set for life. The Skyline House is owned by the mob, and what’re they going to do about it? Cry to the cops? Karl has the perfect plan―his last big job. He may be getting old, but he will make this one a work of art.
THE SAVAGE BREAST
D.B. Sadder is rich young girl who lives with the husband her father provided her in an apartment in San Francisco. D.B. is profoundly unhappy. Her husband Gordon only disgusts her. Her father simply frightens her. Then she meets composer Harry Dazier and his two brothers at a party, and everything changes. The connection she feels with Harry is immediate. Sure, Harry drinks too much, but then so does D.B. So do they all. All except Harry’s older step-brother Sandro, who doesn’t like women, and particularly the women who try to get close to his brothers. But is he any crazier than Gordon, who has his own revenge planned for being kicked out of D.B.’s life?
“First, the heist story, The Big Grab…This is a proper page-turner, and the robbery itself is tense, suspenseful, and gripping; genuinely nervy. The second story by Trinian in this double-header volume…[is] well-plotted, and the observations on character are spot-on, which does make it an interesting read. There’s also an essay by Nicholas Litchfield in this edition which is really well worth a read because it tells you a little bit about John Trinian, whose real name was Zekial Marco, and he had quite a life.”
— Paul Burke (Host), Crime Time FM podcast
Cry Scandal / The Root of His Evil by William Ard (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
CRY SCANDAL: It all begins when Timothy Dane’s former partner goes missing. He and Barney Glines had been private investigators but had parted company over Gline’s shady tactics. However, Gline’s secretary is worried, so Dane starts to dig. The more Dane uncovers, the dirtier Glines begins to look. He’s been working with a sleazy magazine called Info that specializes in celebrity gossip, taking their dirty secrets and dealing a little blackmail on the side. Soon Dane is working for a group of theater producers who want Info shut down for good. Then it becomes personal when Dane falls for a Broadway starlet who is next in line for the Info treatment. It all leads back to Barney Glines―who is nowhere to be found.
THE ROOT OF HIS EVIL: Johnny Cashman is trying to put together the deal of a lifetime by investing in a Latin American general who is willing to trade arms for his country’s gambling concessions in a takeover bid. But to make this happen, Cashman needs cash. So he starts to pull in some gambling debts, including the $200,000 that singer Buddy Lewis owes him. Buddy can only scrape together $100,000 but it’s enough to send Timothy Dane down to Florida to trade the cash for Buddy’s markers. Trouble is, the current Latin American regime doesn’t want a takeover, and are prepared to do whatever is necessary to stop Dane. And if that weren’t distraction enough, there’s Lissa, Cashman’s girl―one hell of a distraction.
24 Hours to Kill / Blue Mascara Tears by James McKimmey (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
24 HOURS TO KILL: They were bringing in Jack Kelty. Though young, he had killed two men during a botched robbery. Thanks to reporter Martin Hillary, he is now something of a hero. Hillary is pursuing the caravan, followed by Kelty’s young gang. But as the police caravan drives Kelty to justice, a savage storm floods the area, stranding them all in the small town of Blue Valley. Most of the men of Blue Valley are fighting the flood elsewhere. Only a handful are left in town to deal with Kelty’s arrival. There’s Steve Michaels, engaged to Mayor Ben Blake’s daughter Sue; and Ben himself, who quickly appoints Steve sheriff as the flood cuts the town off from the rest of the country―and Ben’s younger daughter Gretchen, who is very curious about this renegade in their midst….very curious indeed.
BLUE MASCARA TEARS: Jack Cummings is a San Francisco cop, an honest cop. Which is why he resents the way Knocko Cutter gets away with murder. Oh sure, nothing can be proved. But Cummings knows who killed the prostitute a few weeks ago, just like he knows who’s behind the killing of a small-time gambler in a downtown hotel. But Knocko has got the fix on his side. Cummings can’t even trust his own partner. He doesn’t even know if he should trust his captain. But one thing’s for certain―he knows what he has to do. Cummings is an angry cop, a desperate cop, and he is going to get Knocko no matter what it takes.
“BLUE MASCARA TEARS is an excellent novel with a complicated protagonist. It stays tough and fast all the way through. I give it a high recommendation, especially since you can get it in that double volume with an equally compelling yarn, 24 HOURS TO KILL.”
— James Reasoner, Rough Edges
The Accused / The Snatch by Harold R. Daniels (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
THE ACCUSED: Alvin Morlock isn’t looking for a wife, but after a wild weekend away from his duties teaching English to a bunch of unresponsive college students, meeting Louise is a nice surprise. She seems so demure, quiet and sensitive. But after their hasty marriage, Morlock finds out that Louise is anything but demure. It starts with her not paying the household bills, several hundred dollars’ worth. Then she starts staying out, coming back drunk and argumentative―or not coming back at all. All Morlock wants is a bit of peace and quiet. All he wants is to be left to his memories of better days… Now he finds himself on trial for murder, with every witness testifying against him.
THE SNATCH: There are three of them now, but the plan started with two―Howard Mollison and Lou Morgan. Mollison is a used car salesman who got in too deep with a financial scam, and now has to come up with several thousand dollars in a hurry. Morgan tried to keep up his social position and borrowed more than he could afford, and is just as desperate to get his hands on some quick cash. So the two of them decide to kidnap the money-lender Anacosta’s young grandson. Mollison doesn’t trust Morgan to do the job right, so he brings in simple-minded Patsy to guard the kid at the old textile mill. He knows he can get Patsy to do what’s necessary when the job is done. But he was right not to trust Morgan. Because Morgan begins to develop a conscience. Keeping the boy alive is more challenging than the snatch itself because Morgan has to outwit his own partner to do so.
Nobody Lives Forever / Tomorrow’s Another Day by W. R. Burnett (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)
NOBODY LIVES FOREVER: Doc Ganson’s career has bottomed out, but he has a plan for the perfect con―a rich widow, ripe for the plucking. All he has to do is convince the big guy, Jim Farrar, to take her on. But Farrar is growing tired of the grifter’s life. And he certainly doesn’t want to have anything to do with a lowlife like Doc. He misses his life back in Florida, and crazy redhead Tony. But his lawyer, Johnny Doyle, talks him into it. Then Farrar meets the mark, Mrs. Halversen, and old habits take over. He charms her in spite of himself. Meanwhile, Doc is growing impatient. He doesn’t trust Farrar. And when Doc doesn’t trust someone, there’s hell to pay.
TOMORROW’S ANOTHER DAY: Everyone admires Lonnie and his carefree attitude. He seems to be born lucky, particularly at cards. He even wins Ballard’s restaurant in a card game. Which is where he meets Mary. She’s with the Greek, the only one of the gamblers who doesn’t admire Lonnie. In fact, the Greek resents him. And when Lonnie snatches Mary away from him―and marries her, no less!―his resentment turns to plans of revenge. Lonnie used to be quite a risk-taker, but under Mary’s influence, he puts all that behind him. Until the perfect scheme arrives. How could he know that behind this gamble is the Greek’s vindictive retribution?her not paying the household bills, several hundred dollars’ worth. Then she starts staying out, coming back drunk and argumentative―or not coming back at all. All Morlock wants is a bit of peace and quiet. All he wants is to be left to his memories of better days… Now he finds himself on trial for murder, with every witness testifying against him.
Trade Paperback | Stark House Press | 03/08/2024
Amazon | Barnes and Noble