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SOUTHERN GOTHIC MUTHAFUCKERS!!!

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You ever have the self-discipline to put off reading a particular book until the time is right? Well, I do... Some years ago I discovered the bleak, soul-crushing works of William Gay, absolutely incredible writer. I started building up a collection of signed firsts (wasn't that expensive, he didn't start writing until he was in his fifties). His most acclaimed novel, Twilight I sort of put on hold. And then William Gay died and the prices of signed firsts went through the roof. Yeah, I could get a paperback of Twilight for a few bucks, but I have everything else in a nice hardcover first edition. Finally, as my birthday rolled around in July, I found a copy listed for a ridiculously low price. When you searched on Abebooks for William Gay, it would show up, when you searched for Author = William Gay, Title = Twilight and hardcover + signed for some reason it wouldn't show up. This means people searching for this particular book wouldn't find it, but I had. The seller wasn't too great about answering e-mails, but when they finally did they were great to work with... End of story, my copy arrived yesterday for a mere $75, it's easily worth $200 or more. I don't think I'll be on this board or any others very much today, I got me some readin' to do.

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Man, Twilight sounds fun. I'll put it on the 'to read' list. Might check the Long Home out too

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On 9/7/2016 at 10:36 AM, CreativeControl said:

Man, Twilight sounds fun. I'll put it on the 'to read' list. Might check the Long Home out too

So did ya? What did you think? Me, I'm regretting that Gay didn't start writing in his twenties...

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Yeah, it's an old thread, but as today marks the fortieth anniversary of the passing of Jim Thompson, I felt it appropriate to talk about Thompson here, rather than make a new thread. If you're not familiar with Jim Thompson's books, you've missed out on a lot, the film adaptations, which are many, just don't do his prose justice (although The Grifters comes really, really close). Was his work, noir, Southern gothic, or suspense? I don't know, it fits all three, start with Pop. 1280, as a primer and then blow your minds with The Killer Inside Me. If those two don't make you want to read the rest of his works you must be made of stone. Guy was just brilliant.

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I've always thought the last chapter of The Getaway where El Rey is introduced and described is one of the best one-off pieces of world-building I've ever encountered in fiction.  Thompson's body of work is amazing, but that will always be what sticks with me for him.  Totally engrossing and unsettling for what's essentially an epilogue.

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Just a wee bit of a brag, if I may... Once the lawyers get done approving the fucking contract that they wrote (yeah, you got that right, they are actually billing their client for reviewing a contract that they wrote in the first fucking place). Anyway once the legal jackoffery is completed, yours truly gets to write an introduction to a Jim Thompson book! Which one? Pop. 1280, The Grifters, The Killer Inside Me, The Getaway? Nah, that shit would be too easy, I get to do The Golden Gizmo!!! No, it's not my favorite Thompson, not by a long shot, but it IS perhaps the weirdest Thompson (right up there with The Alcoholics, what the fuck was Big Jim thinking when he wrote that?) In any event, it's one to cross off the bucket list. For a guy that's made his bones in the horror genre, I'm fortunate enough to work with a publisher that knows that I know my Gold Medal and Lion LIbrary stuff inside out.  I've gotten to do Woolrich and Fredric Brown, and now with Thompson, that leaves David Goodis and Gil Brewer to cross off my list. I'd love to do Peter Rabe, but his stuff seems to be tied up with other publishers. 

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Wow, been a long time since anyone has added to this thread, so here goes... I recently got turned on to a chap name of Lewis Nordan, author of several novels and a bunch of short stories. Man, this guy is the goods, in one story he will make you laugh, make you cry and rip your fucking heart out, all with keeping the level of weird, in-bred, batshit crazy stuff ratcheted up to 10+. Now here's the best thing, as I know many of you (like myself) are cheap bastards. Go to abebooks.com and do a search for Mr. Nordan's books, they are all (with the exception of his first short story collection) dirt cheap. I'm talking like twenty bucks gets you everything, ten bucks if you settle for paperbacks. Try him, you'll dig his stuff, and don't worry about that first collection, it was all reprinted later in a big ol' trade paperback with all the stuff from his second collection.

Barry Hannah: How have we not talked about Barry Hannah? This is the guy that other writers read to learn how it's done. You can get his huge story collection Bats out of Hell for like $5 or $10 in hardcover, another fine investment would be Long, Last Happy (stories new and selected), I think this might run a bit more, maybe $10-$15 for a nice 1st edition, but certainly worth the price of admission.

Lastly, Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington: Snake handling, incest, perversion, and Jeebus! What's not to like? Every bit as unhinged as the best Harry Crews novel that Harry didn't write. Hell, make this a double bill with Feast of Snakes and don't hold back when that collection plate comes your way!

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Here is a weird one... This has never happened to me before, ever... I'm reading Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell, well-written and it's more Ozark Gothic than truly Southern, but that's a minor cavil. There are four major characters and that's pretty much it, the titular femme fatale, her brother, mother, and the more-or-less good-natured meth-smoking, crank snorting thug who serves as the protagonist.  I get all the way up to chapter sixteen (did I mention that Woodrell can flat-out write?) and all of a sudden the ten deadly words hit me like a ton of bricks, for those new(er) to my posts, those words are "I don't give a fuck what happens to these people!" What is unusual is that Woodrell is so good a writer that I made it two-thirds of the way through the book before the ten deadly words kicked in. Why? I don't rightfully know, the characters are certainly well-drawn, they're just not particularly likable or hateable they're just sort of there, like the neighbors that have lived four houses away since forever that you never socialize with. They're just there. 

I dunno, I've made it this far, and Woodrell is a damn fine writer, so maybe there's a payoff that I'll care about, though at this point I can't imagine what that might be. 

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Well, Woodrell came through in the end as I knew he would. Maybe wasn't the payoff I wanted, but it was the payoff I deserved or something... 

Anyway, moving to the next book on the stack...  We have Taylor Brown... So far there are just three books, in typical ass-backwards fashion I read the most recent tome first and then ordered the eralier two books. Gods of Howl Mountain was a fantastic book, total gut-punch. The earlier books are Fallen Land and The River of Kings. Now here's the great news, apparently St. Martin's overprinted the shit out of Fallen Land, (something that they have a tendency to do, they'll go all-in on a first novelist, bless 'em for that, and when the book doesn't sell, rather than kicking the author to the curb as most publishers will do, they'll cheerfully acknowledge that they screwed up and give it another go. The good news is that you can pick up a nice new copy of Fallen Land for a buck and postage, or three bucks and free postage, whatever...  The River of Kings will run a bit more and you may have to pay close to list price for Gods of Howl Mountain, but when you amortize your cost, it breaks down to the complete works for under $30.00! How can you miss with a deal like that? This is the best thing about this genre, with the exception of the big boys like Harry Crews and William Gay, most of this stuff is dirt cheap.

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