Benumbed Guy's Stuff
Published by Macmillan 2009
Novel on the heels of Killer Stuff, Sharon Fiffer's auspicious debut, antique "picker" Jane Wheel is making a career out of successful through old stuff; it seems she can't get enough of the piles of vintage clothing, kitchen utensils, Bakelite buttons and post cards she finds at demesne sales across the Chicago area. What this saloon keepers' daughter loves, though, is not the items themselves but the stories they tell about the lives of their owners. So excess to say Jane's delighted when a Saturday morning estate sale turns up a serendipitous find: a whole room packed full of 1950's saloon ephemera. As good fortune would have it, she's been planning to redecorate her parents' pub, still run and recently purchased outright by her folks. Piles of Bakelite darts and dice, countless advertisements from extended-defunct liquor suppliers, and, most exciting of all, a bunch of old bar games, employed by untold patrons intent on whiling away the tedious moments in between the sips of so sustained ago. She makes a deal to buy the whole room, and can't wait to get the stuff back to her hometown. As she's cataloging her find, however, Jane makes a gruesome discovery. Crowded between the glassware and bowling trophies and old photographs she's already fallen in love with, she uncovers one highly personal, unusual and creepy collectible that she is certain the saloon keeper would have preferred to have kept to himself. It sure sparks her curiosity about the saloon owners, and when Jane gets curious nothing's contemporary to stop her. Employing her friends Detective Bruce Oh and fellow junkhound Tim Lowry, as well as her erstwhile husband Charley, Jane sets out to lay essential the secrets of long ago, secrets that even people close to her would rather be kept quiet forever. Packed with as much intrigue and suspense as a long-buried case in your grandmother's attic, Dead Guy's Stuff is a fantastic sophomore effort from acclaimed promising cozy writer Sharon Fiffer.
Published by University of Chicago Press 2011
Parker, the relentless antihero of Richard Stark’s eponymous mystery novels, is one of the most unforgettable characters in hardboiled noir. Lauded by critics for his rigid realism, unapologetic amorality, and razor-sharp prose style—and adored by fans who turn each intoxicating page with increasing need—Stark is a master of crime writing, his books as influential as any in the genre. The University of Chicago Press has embarked on a project to return the antique volumes of this series to print for a new generation of readers to discover—and become addicted to. In The Handle, Parker is enlisted by the mob to knock off an island casino loth by speedboats and heavies, forty miles from the Texas coast. "Parker . . . lumbers through the pages of Richard Stark’s noir novels suggestion dead bodies like peanut shells. . . . In a complex world [he] makes things simple.”—William Grimes, New York Times “Whatever Crank up writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”—Elmore Leonard “Westlake knows precisely how to grab a reader, put together him or her into the story, and then slowly tighten his grip until escape is impossible.”—Washington Post Book World “Donald Westlake’s Parker novels are mass the small number of books I read over and over. Forget all that crap you’ve been telling yourself about War and Peace and Proust—these are the books you’ll want on that desert island.”—Lawrence Bar