Wednesday, June 11, 2014

lawrence block's pulp fiction: borderline

Lawrence Block is one of the country's best-known and successful mystery and crime novelists (8 Million Ways to Die, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart). He has created memorable characters like the hard-boiled detective Matthew Scudder and the charming burglar-turned-bookseller (and crime solver) Bernie Rhodenbarr. But many of his most ardent admirers may not know that Block started his writing career in the pulp field, frequently using pseudonyms to churn out stories mixing crime and sex. Hard Case Crime has been reissuing these lost dimestore novels, now under Block's name, and the latest, Borderline, is a doozy. Originally published in 1962 (but according to the book's copyright may have been written as early as 1958) as Border Lust by Don Holliday, Borderline centers around four people who all converge on the U.S./Mexico border, with tragic results.

Author Lawrence Block


Borderline and its accompanying short stories are a time capsule of what publisher's thought would excite the American male in the late '50s, early '60s. The girls are all very busty and aiming to please, and the men are hardly PC in their behavior. It must have been quite risqué at the time to include gay characters, both male and female. Pornography is so readily available these days that it is hard to imagine the role books like Borderline played in many lives, brown paper wrapping and all. But it does show what a training ground pulp fiction played for such a good and prolific writer as Lawrence Block.

You can read my complete review on Cinema Sentries


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