Friday, November 18, 2022

FFB-From Jeff Meyerson, back in the day....


Jeff Meyerson has been a member of DAPA-EM for over 30 years and published an early fanzine in pre-computer days called (way before the bookstore/publisher of the same name existed) The Poisoned Pen. I was a mail order book dealer, specializing in secondhand British mystery and detective fiction. I've read thousands of mysteries since 1970.

(And thousands more, thirteen years later)

John Sladek, INVISIBLE GREEN (1977)
Bari Wood, THE TRIBE (1981)
Walter Mosley, WALKIN' THE DOG (1999)

I thought what I'd do this week was go back and see what I was reading the first week in December of 1979, 1989 and 1999, and the above three titles answer that question.
Sladek was mostly a science fiction writer, of course, but he wrote two wonderfully old-fashioned locked room mysteries in the 1970's, BLACK AURA and INVISIBLE GREEN, both featuring brilliant amateur Thackeray Phin. Sadly, there were no more of them, and both certainly qualify as unjustly forgotten books. You could check the online booksellers for copies. Both are available at a cheap price on ABE and both are well worth your time. (Perhaps even harder today)
THE TRIBE was a hit at the time it came out, I believe, and Wood had several other bestsellers, including TWINS and THE KILLING GIFT. She's probably been pretty much forgotten these days, as her last published book was in 1995. To be honest I don't really remember much of this one, which the publisher tried to make a Jewish version of THE EXORCIST, with concentration camp victims and Jewish mysticism combining for rather tepid, if fast-moving, horror thrills. I don't have a copy so can't really be specific.
The Mosley was his second collection of Socrates Fortlow stories, and I'm a big fan of the series. Fortlow was a murderer who has been released from prison and is trying to get by in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood and negotiate his way in a white world. The stories here and in ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED, ALWAYS OUTGUNNED, the first book in the series, are well worth your time as Fortlow is - to me - a fascinating character, more so than Easy Rawlins.



Todd Mason said...

Big fan of Sladek...recommended him to Douglas Adams upon our one meeting...never have been too tempted by Woods, should try that Mosley.

Jerry House said...

I'm also a big fan of Sladek. Anyone who can discover the thirteenth sign of the zodiac is A-OK in my book. I have the Woods buried somewhere in a box but have not read it. Mosley is always worth reading.

I'm always interested in what Jeff is reading/has read. Jeff's comments are usually spot on.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Wow, I'd forgotten I did this. Le me check the next two decades....

IN 2009, I was reading THE NIGHT MONSTER by James Swain, in his Jack Carpenter series, which I do not remember at all. I really liked his Tony Valentine series. I (and many others, I'm sure) discovered Swain after his panels at the 2003 Las Vegas Bouchercon, where he made quite the hit. Also read THE LIGHTNING THIEF, the first in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series.

In 2019, it was - apparently - something called BREACH, but I have no memory of what that was or who wrote it. Let me check. Ah yes, W. L. Goodwater. It was the first of two books in a Cold War fantasy series where the Berlin Wall was entirely made of magic. I liked it. The other book I read was FROM SEA TO STORMY SEA, a collection of stories edited by Lawrence Block, all inspired by famous paintings. Patti had a story set in 1884 South Dakota.