Friday 19 February 2010


Manners don't cost much, do they? I spied an old edition of one of Richard Stark's Parker novels on AbeBooks yesterday, so I dropped the seller a line to find out if it was still available. Today I looked on AbeBooks again... and the listing's vanished. Which I take to mean they don't have the book anymore. Did they email me to tell me it was no longer available? Did they fuck. So a cheery "fuck you!" to Goldstone Books. A little common courtesy wouldn't have gone amiss, now would it?

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Panic on the Streets of eBay

Phew. Had a hairy moment just now on eBay. I put in a bid in the last twenty seconds for a book (a Gold Medal edition of Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, hard to find in this country – and yes, I am a last-minute eBay sniper; sue me) and it looked like the bid hadn't gone through. I'd entered the amount and confirmed the bid, but then another screen came up telling me to enter another bid! Which I did, frantically, and then had to confirm all over again, and I knew at that point I was stuffed. Too much time had elapsed. Sure enough I was met by a message saying the auction had ended and my bid was discounted. Gah!

I was then informed by eBay that the auction had been won by... me! My original bid had gone through after all. Thank Christ for that. I would've been mightily annoyed if that had slipped through my fingers, particularly as it went (to me!) for a decent price. And so now I can blog about the Jim Thompson books I mentioned a couple of posts back, which are:

which is the one I just, er won, and:

which I won the other day (it's a 1950s reprint of Thompson's third novel).


Monday 15 February 2010

A Little in Column 'A', a Little in Column 'B'

Column 'A' being 'Comics I'm Still Buying', Column 'B' being 'Comics I've Now Dropped'. Specifically, that issue of Invincible Iron Man I missed as a result of Diamond's truck smash turned up in this week's (or rather last week's; I didn't get to the comic shop until Saturday) delivery, so I bought it. But I passed on PunisherMax because... it's just not Garth Ennis. It's OK, Jason Aaron's doing a decent job on the words, and Steve Dillon's art is always engaging... but it's Just Not Garth. So that's another title dropped. Which leaves my monthly list of comics (now that a few miniseries have finished) looking like this:

Batman & Robin
Captain America
Chronicles of Wormwood (miniseries)
Crossed (only one more issue to go on this)
Dark Avengers
Ex Machina
Invincible Iron Man
New Avengers

Huh. I make that eight ongoing series (I'm including Criminal there, as it's a series of miniseries) and three miniseries. And some of the comics on this list are on life-support too. We'll see where we are in another couple of months...

Crime Time

Another new arrival on Saturday:

That's a 1967 first Coronet Hodder Fawcett edition of Richard Stark's Point Blank, a.k.a. The Hunter, the first of the series of books starring single-minded criminal Parker. It's the movie tie-in edition rather than a proper first edition (The Hunter was originally published in 1962, five years before the John Boorman film came out; that's Lee Marvin on the cover as Parker, or Walker as he was called in the film), but I think it was the first time the novel was published in the UK. It's a bit creased, but it's pretty firm. Getting hold of actual US first editions of crime novels like this in the UK is tough unless you're prepared to have them shipped from the States; I keep an eye on eBay, but they don't turn up that often. This'll do me, though. I've actually read the Darwyn Cooke graphic novel adaptation of The Hunter already, which apparently is pretty faithful, so it'll be interesting to compare the two.

I also won a copy of this on eBay:

That's the third or fourth Parker novel, The Outfit, and I believe it's a 1973 Berkley edition (Mr. Postie hasn't delivered it yet), published to tie in with John Flynn's movie. So now I've got a couple of Richard Stark (or Donald Westlake, to give him his real name) books to be getting on with... and soon I'll hopefully have a couple of Jim Thompson paperbacks too.

Elsewhere on the crime beat, I finished George Pelecanos' The Way Home at the weekend, which I liked a lot. It's very low key, and takes pains to navigate round the more obvious trappings of 'crime' novels, so much so that when a typical crime novel device comes into play – a bag of money is found – it feels levered in, and that plot strand just sort of meanders around before providing the payoff at the end. Much more interesting are the passages outlining the sense of failure the father feels over his wayward son, and the section set in the juvenile detention centre. Still, it's a good book.

And now I've started largely forgotten British thriller writer Gavin Lyall's The Wrong Side of the Sky, his debut novel from 1961 (and a first edition I picked up for a fiver at the Rye Book Fair last year). It's about a pilot on the trail of some missing gems, and I think it's going to be a bit of a corker.