“Jimmie John Hall wasn't anything until he was a killer, and Betty Dienhardt wasn't anything until she met Jimmie John Hall. When they get together, sparks fly and bullets follow. The first to go are Betty's parents, but Betty isn't bothered. She only wants to be with her man - the first person to ever make her feel special. “They set off on a cross-country spree, killing for gas money and food, killing to swap their car for one the police aren't looking for. As the dragnet draws tighter, they only grow closer, riding a road that leads to death because death has surrounded them all the time.” That’s the copy on Dreamscape Audio’s excellent audiobook, expertly narrated by Alan Sklar, and I’d be hard put to improve on it. It’s worth noting, though, that the novel derives from and was inspired by the real-life (and real death) rampage of Charles Starkweather and Caryl Fugate in 1950s Nebraska; the novel itself is set fifteen years later, and does not attempt a literal reconstruction of the original case. It’s a powerful work of fiction, a penetrating look at two disturbed and disturbing individuals, and a breakneck tear across the American Midwest. Like Such Men Are Dangerous and The Triumph of Evil, it was originally published under LB’s Paul Kavanagh pen name, but as soon as he could he resides all three books under his own name, and is pleased to make them available now in the Classic Crime Library. THE CLASSIC CRIME LIBRARY brings together Lawrence Block's early crime novels, reformatted and with new uniform cover art.
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Lawrence Block has been writing award-winning mystery and suspense fiction for half a century. His newest book, pitched by his Hollywood agent as “James M. Cain on Viagra,” is The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes. His other recent novels include The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons, featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr; Hit Me, featuring philatelist and assassin Keller; and A Drop Of The Hard Stuff, featuring Matthew Scudder, brilliantly embodied by Liam Neeson in the new film, A Walk Among The Tombstones. Several of his other books have also been filmed, although not terribly well. He's well known for his books for writers, including the classic Telling Lies For Fun & Profit and Write For Your Life, and has recently published a collection of his writings about the mystery genre and its practitioners, The Crime Of Our Lives. In addition to prose works, he has written episodic television (Tilt!) and the Wong Kar-wai film, My Blueberry Nights. He is a modest and humble fellow, although you would never guess as much from this biographical note.
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