Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Charles Willeford and Lawrence Block

Mystery writer Charles Willeford died in 1988 in Miami, and was a great writer largely unknown to readers who clamor for the latest serial killer bestseller set up on display as soon as you enter the bookstore. This guy knew how to create mood and setting, with interesting characters delivering original dialogue. His south Florida tales include COCKFIGHTER, THE WOMAN CHASER, NEW HOPE FOR THE DEAD, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE SHARK INFESTED CUSTARD, DELIVER ME FROM DALLAS, THE WAY WE DIE NOW, SIDESWIPE, WILD WIVES, PICK-UP, THE BLACK MASS OF BROTHER SPRINGER, HIGH PRIEST OF CALIFORNIA, THE MACHINE IN WARD ELEVEN, and the one made into a funny offbeat detective movie starring Alec Baldwin as a sociopathic convict who hooks up with a naive and sympathic hooker deftly played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, titled MIAMI BLUES. Stephen Bowlby narrates three new productions of Willeford's novels for Blackstone, which are reminiscent of Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald. Even the titles sound like MacDonald! More of his books are coming to audio. A real treat. And if you haven't heard Lawrence Block on audio, you're missing out. Alan Sklar (interviewed at this site) is one of his narrators, (along with Richard Ferrone and Tom Stechschulte) while my interview of Block is at this site. Another is Joe Barrett, also a favorite, who reads a new production of A TICKET TO THE BONEYARD, among other early Matt Scudder novels. Block isn't overlooked, being still alive and kicking...at least not by those who haven't time to read vampire and zombie books. If you're not a fan, it may mean you've been listening to the wrong stuff.
    

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