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Fade to Blonde (Hard Case Crime)by Max Phillips
Synopses & Reviews
He promised to save her from a vengeful mobster — he just didn't know he'd have to join the Mob to do it!
Ray Corson came to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, not hired muscle. But when a beautiful girl with a purse full of cash asks for help, how can you say no?
Rebecca LaFontaine came to Hollywood to be an actress, not a stag movie starlet — or a murder victim. To protect her, Corson signs on with dope king Lenny Scarpa. But Scarpa, he finds, is hiding dark secrets.
And Rebecca's hiding the darkest secret of all...
"Best known for his poetry and literary fiction (The Artist's Wife, etc.), Phillips contributes to a new crime imprint a hard-boiled whodunit sure to thrill fans of such Golden Age masters as James M. Cain. Ex-boxer/failed screenwriter Ray Corson is as tough talking — and as vulnerable to a pretty face — as any 1940s gumshoe. And terrified blonde bombshell Rebecca LaFontaine looks like a classic damsel in distress when she hires Corson to protect her from murderous rejected suitor Lance Halliday, a Hollywood porn producer. The author deftly balances his lovestruck hero's terse yet tender introspection with hard-hitting physical action, as Corson's investigation of Tinsel Town's tarnished underside uncovers drug dealing, gangland vengeance and evidence that the heroine's history may hold even deadlier secrets. Especially graceful is the way Phillips lightens the plot's noir darkness with delightfully breezy dialogue. The convincingly understated, witty repartee between guy and gal — and their gangster pals — prevents the book from descending, for even a paragraph, into period pulp parody. They do write 'em like they used to. Agent, Henry Dunow at Dunow & Carlson Literary Agency. (Sept. 7) Forecast: Hard Case will be reprinting classic noir fiction in addition to publishing original novels. The retro jacket art — showing a naked blonde clutching a blanket to her chest in one hand and a revolver in another — wonderfully evokes the old-time paperback style." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The term Chandleresque is overused, but this book...came as close as any I've read to replicating the master's style....This is a superior, smart, exciting crime novel." George Pelecanos, author of Drama City and Hard Revolution
"Sharp, savvy, and unapologetically raunchy...this taut, hard novel is a winner." January Magazine
"Phillips has recreated the universe of Raymond Chandler with utter believability....The novel moves along with punchy, straightforward, sexy prose, and doesn't lack for wit." Neal Pollack, author of Never Mind the Pollacks
"It's been said that Fade to Blonde could have been a Gold Medal novel. It certainly could have. It's easily one of the best books I've read this year." James Reasoner, author of Texas Wind
Dorchester Publishing introduces a new line of hardboiled crime fiction, ranging from lost noir masterpieces to new novels with stunning original cover art designed in the grand pulp style. Ray Corson comes to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, not a hired muscle. But he promises to save a stag-movie starlet from a vengeful mobster. Now Ray's the one in need of protection. Original.
Ray Corson came to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, not hired muscle. But when a beautiful girl with a purse full of cash asks for your help, how can you say no? So Corson agrees to protect starlet Rebecca LaFontaine from a vengeful mobster — but what he doesn't realize is that he'll have to join the Mob to do it.
About the Author
Max Phillips's novels, which have included Snakebite Sonnet (Little, Brown) and The Artist's Wife (Henry Holt), have won rave reviews in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Esquire, and other major publications. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as the Atlantic Monthly and Story. Under the name Forrest DeVoe Jr., Phillips is also the author of the Mallory & Morse series of 60s-style spy novels, starting with Into the Volcano (HarperCollins). Mr. Phillips has received an Academy of American Poets Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
From World War II through the 1960s, paperback crime novels were one of the fastest-selling categories in book publishing. Millions of readers snapped up hundreds of millions of books by well-known authors like Erle Stanley Gardner and Mickey Spillane, as well as by promising young writers like Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard, and Ed McBain. Today, Block, Leonard, and McBain still make the bestseller lists with each new hardcover — but the pulp novels that first captured the public's imagination weren't hardcovers. They were paperbacks you could fit in your back pocket, with jaw-dropping cover paintings and bare-knuckled prose that grabbed you by the collar with the first sentence and held you until the last page. No one's published books like that in years.
Hard Case Crime is dedicated to reviving the vigor and excitement, the suspense and thrills — the sheer entertainment — of the golden age of paperback crime novels, both by bringing back into print the best work of the pulp era and by introducing readers to new work by some of today's most powerful writers and artists. Determined detectives and dangerous women...fortune hunters and vengeance seekers...ingenious criminals and men on the run for their lives...Hard Case Crime novels offer everything you want from a great story, all in handsome and affordable mass-market editions.
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