I just found out from Simon & Schuster that my narration of Mickey Spillane’s I, The Jury will be released July 28. This was the first Mike Hammer novel and the best-selling novel of Spillane’s entire career, which spanned almost sixty years. The cover’s not ready yet, so I’m including one of the old paperback covers for the heck of it. I’m hoping it does well.
Chalk Line Books has done it again. They’ve released another hardboiled classic so that today’s readers and listeners may enjoy it, and they selected me to narrate it. This time, it’s A Bad Woman by James M Cain. It was formerly known as A Sinful Woman, but for some reason, the publisher changed the title.
Cain was the author of such iconic noir masterpieces as Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce, and very few authors could effectively mix sex, jealousy, and murder as well as he could.
The story is set in 1940s Reno, Nevada, then known as America’s divorce capital. Film star Sylvia Shoreham is wowing the dusty gambling town and is hell-bent on divorcing her conniving user of a husband, a foreigner with a slick tongue and a heavy accent. But he has other ideas.
This unabridged audiobook is now available on Audible.com.
I was positively thrilled to work with Lawrence Block in narrating and producing this audiobook. Originally released in 1962 under a pen name, Borderline (Hard Case Crime / Titan Books—2014) is a steamy tale of sex, violence, and deception as its four central characters move individually, for their own troubling reasons, back and forth across the Rio Grande separating El Paso from Ciudad Juárez.
Marty Granger is a professional poker player who lives on the Texas side and plays in the lucrative games in Juárez. One day, while walking in a park on the Mexican side, he meets Meg Rector, newly-minted divorcée from Chicago, who’s looking for kicks. And so it begins.
Throw in a teenage runaway and one of the most frightening and despicable serial killers ever to walk onto a printed page, and you have the makings of a dangerous noir brew. Noir characters traditionally allow themselves to be consumed by extraordinary emotions, and when faced with their subsequent choices, they always choose wrong. Block has seen to it that his characters do not disappoint.
Hard Case Crime has toiled in these vineyards for years, re-releasing pulp and noir classics from days gone by. Several of Block’s novels are in their catalog, as are many from lesser-known writers. All of these books, however, have spent decades mired in the forgotten swamps beyond literature’s fringe, awaiting reclamation. HCC has succeeded in bringing them back into the sunshine by introducing them to new generations of readers, and I’m hoping this audiobook will reach just a few more.
AUDIBLE.COM #1 BEST SELLER (overall)
Three Early Stories (Devault-Graves — 2014) is an important book, and I hardly ever say that about any book. What makes it important is the fact that it’s the first legitimate publication of any JD Salinger material in 50 years. Salinger was notoriously secretive and guarded his work closely. These stories, however, were among the first things he ever published, appearing in obscure magazines back in the early 1940s. They have not seen the light of day since.
The span of time notwithstanding, Salinger’s sly style appears nearly fully formed, as his unique take on human relationships bleeds through every line. The Young Folks takes place during a cocktail party at the home of the young hostess’ parents. The second story, Go See Eddie, deals with a young man returning from a business trip.
But it is the final story, Once A Week Won’t Kill You, where Salinger hits it out of the park. Dripping with poignancy, this heartfelt tale concerns a young man going off to fight in World War II, and he must say goodbye to his loved ones. It feels fresh and alive today, and is a great example of how Salinger could say volumes by leaving words out.
I was pretty stoked when Devault-Graves selected me to narrate this historic audiobook. Many thanks to them. And many thanks to you who buy it and enjoy this new treatment of the work of JD Salinger.
In December, 2014, this audiobook reached all the way to #1 on Audible.com’s Best Seller list (all categories).
My latest narration for Chalk Line Books, Murder At The Bijou by the master of noir, Jim Thompson, is now live on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. It was formerly titled Nothing More Than Murder (1949), and was Thompson’s debut novel, kicking off the checkered career of this troubled individual.
The book revolves around Joe Wilmot, small town movie theater impresario, and his woman problems. He quickly determines that his easiest play is murder. And from there … well, it’s Jim Thompson, so that should tell you all you need to know.
Actually, the reviewers say it best:
“Suspense in high gear” — New York Times
“The master of the American groin-kick novel” — Vanity Fair
“The most hard-boiled of all the American writers of crime fiction” — Chicago Tribune
“Read Jim Thompson and take a tour of hell” — New Republic
“My favorite crime novelist” — Stephen King
The folks at Chalk Line Books have been turning out these crime/noir re-releases on a regular basis, in much the same manner as Black Lizard did back in the 1980s, when they rescued quite a few of the noir giants of the past from total oblivion. Were it not for Black Lizard in those days, the works of Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Charles Williams, and many more would likely have been lost forever. Now in the 2010s, Chalk Line is attempting another revival, and I’m very pleased they have selected me to narrate many of these classic noir novels.
I strongly urge you to check out the sample of Murder At The Bijou, and then rush over to Audible.com and buy it. Now.
After what seemed like an interminable length of time, my latest audiobook narration, The Killing, has gone live on Audible.com. There’s a description attached to it, but this part is really all you need to know:
The Killing (originally titled Clean Break) by the master of capers, Lionel White, is what many people consider the greatest heist novel of all time. Stanley Kubrick liked the book enough to option it and make a classic noir film of it, co-scripted with the great Jim Thompson.
So there you have it. Jim Thompson, Stanley Kubrick, Lionel White … not bad company. What more do you need? Check out the audio sample above and then go here and buy it.
I’m positively thrilled to have landed the opportunity to narrate and produce Mickey Spillane’s iconic novel I, The Jury. This was Spillane’s first Mike Hammer novel and his biggest-selling book of his entire career, which spanned nearly 60 years. Most of the other Hammer audiobooks have been read by Stacy Keach, so I’ve got big shoes to fill on this one. I started work on it last night, but I’ll let you know when it comes out.
Cold querying works!
My latest narration, Matanzas Bay by Parker Francis, is now available in audiobook form. It’s a contemporary private eye tale set in St Augustine, Florida. Anyone who likes a well-written crime fiction tale should check it out. Go here and listen to the audio sample, then buy it, for cryin’ out loud!
I don’t make the top of a list too often, especially a Best Seller list, so you can imagine my shock when I saw today that my narration of JD Salinger’s Three Early Stories had made it to the top of Audible.com’s Best Seller list. Yes, the top, as in, number 1. Stephen King, David Baldacci, Gillian Flynn … they all trail.
I’m sure it’ll be replaced tomorrow, but tonight, the wine will flow!!