Leave Her To Heaven

Despite the dreamy title and literary ambitions, this is truly one of the darkest noir novels ever written. A #1 best-seller at the time of its release in 1944, the novel deals with the twisted desires of Ellen Berent, whose unhealthy fixation on her father leads to her undoing. Following her father’s death, she meets Richard Harland, a handsome author, who resembles a younger version of him, and she transfers her obsession to Harland. Things swiftly head south.

Adapted for the screen in 1945, it went on to become an Oscar-winning film as well as a film noir classic. The lush color photography masks the evil that resides at the story’s heart, making for a chilling film experience. The audiobook was a pleasure for me to narrate, and I’m thrilled to be able to add it to my catalog.

I, The Jury

This one needs no introduction. Mickey Spillane introduced Mike Hammer to a waiting world in 1947 and literature hasn’t been the same since. This is the very first time this novel has been available as an unabridged audiobook, containing 100% of Spillane’s original fiery text. Available on AmazonAudible, and iTunes.

Thieves Like Us

My audiobook narration of Edward Anderson’s 1937 novel Thieves Like Us (Chicago Review Press) is now live. Anderson was a Depression-era author who wrote of the desperation of rural America during that period. Straight out of the time of John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson, Thieves Like Us brims with richly-drawn, breathing characters and dialogue that rings true.

The novel was adapted for the screen as They Live By Night (1948), starring Farley Granger, Cathy O’Donnell, and Howard DaSilva, and has become an undisputed film noir classic. It was later remade in the 1970s by Robert Altman under its original title. Altman, however, failed to grasp the essence of film noir, focusing instead on the cars and clothes of the 1930s.

Check out the audio sample above. Then go to Audible and buy it!! It’s a terrific novel.

CAUTION: there are two audio versions of this book out, so make sure you get mine, the one with THIS COVER!

The Girl With The Deep Blue Eyes

Doak Miller’s done his twenty-five years with the NYPD. Pensioned off, he wants a quieter life, so he moves to Gallatin County, hidden away in the big bend of Florida. He gets his private investigator’s license, hoping to pick up a little off-the-books work on the side. It’s been three years now, time enough to have developed a working relationship with Gallatin Sheriff Bill Radburn. The Sheriff has a little job for him. Shouldn’t be any problem. No problem at all.

And so begins The Girl With The Deep Blue Eyes, the latest novel from crime fiction master Lawrence Block. Now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Maggie Cassidy

For anyone looking for something different in audio, try my narration of MAGGIE CASSIDY by Jack Kerouac. While technically a novel, it’s actually autobiographical, carving out a nostalgia-drenched look at Kerouac’s senior year in high school. The complexities of young love and boyhood friendships are fully developed, as is the setting of a hard-bitten New England manufacturing town in 1939. First time this version of Kerouac’s text has appeared since its publication in 1959, when it was quickly removed from the shelves for profanity and replaced with a sanitized version.

This first-ever audiobook is now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

A Bad Woman

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.

Borderline

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.

The unabridged audiobook of Borderline is now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Three Early Stories

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.

Now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

In December, 2014, this audiobook reached all the way to #1 on Audible.com’s Best Seller list (all categories).

Murder At The Bijou

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.

The Killing

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.