“He was wondering what in hell he was mixed up in…It wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all. He wasn’t coming out of this untouched. That was certain. For the first time in his life he felt helpless.”
For ten years, Red Bailey has been running from the past. As a seedy private detective in New York City, he accepted a job that changed him forever. Now he only wants to forget, burying himself in rural California where he runs a service station, trying to convince himself he could really marry the girl next door. But Red’s past is about to catch up with him, and she’s just as tempting, and just as deadly, as ever. Continue reading “Build My Gallows High (1946) by Geoffrey Homes”
“Life is filled with new experiences, but this was one I could have gotten along without. Two dead men in one day is a little hard on the system at best; it makes it sort of rough, when you end up with one of them in the trunk of your car.”
Most men would stop if they saw the luscious Marilyn K. stranded by the side of the road. Sam Russell is no exception. Marilyn’s traveling companion has just been killed in a car crash. He’s a married man, and she doesn’t want to get involved in a scandal. When she begs Sam to drive her to a motel, flashing a suitcase full of cash, it all seems too good to be true…and it is. In the beginning, Sam wants the girl and the money. By morning, he’ll settle for escaping with his life, but it may already be too late. Continue reading “Marilyn K (1960) by Lionel White”
“Listen, baby,” he said. “I don’t think you quite understand. There was a dead man there, a man that I have every reason to believe was murdered. Someone murdered him. And someone saw me there in that house.”
Fairlawn Acres is a typical American suburb, full of average, ordinary families. Howard McNally has a beautiful wife and child, but can’t stop thinking about the teenage babysitter. Len Neilsen stumbles into the wrong house after a drunken dinner with his boss, only to find himself “in a strange house, in a strange bedroom, with a man who was very dead.” He doesn’t even know which house it was, since they all look alike.
And Gerald Tomlinson has just stolen $48,000 from the South Shore Bank in a bloody shootout—money he’s determined to keep by any means necessary. Continue reading “The House Next Door (1956) by Lionel White”
“I know about your kind of man. You’d as soon kill as not. You, and those others in there, you’re all of you alike. All of you cowards and killers.”
The kidnapping went off without a hitch, but pulling a job is one thing; getting away with it is another. Cal Dent has been planning this caper for years and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make a clean getaway—even murder. But the more time he spends around one of his beautiful hostages, the more reluctant he is to let her go. As his perfect scheme starts falling apart, how far will Dent go to save his own skin? Continue reading “The Snatchers (1953) by Lionel White”
“It’s already too late. It’s been too late since I first met her. It’s been too late since the day I was born.“
Shy, middle-aged bachelor Louis Durand has a secret. For months now, he’s been corresponding with Julia Russell through a matrimonial agency. When she arrives in New Orleans for their wedding, however, Louis receives a big surprise. Instead of the plain, older woman he expected, Julia is a charming young beauty.
Durand falls head over heels for his new bride, but she may not be everything she seems. This couple are about to embark on a twisted journey of crime, betrayal, and, most mysterious of all, true love. Continue reading “Waltz into Darkness (1947) by Cornell Woolrich”
“Terror was a luxury. She couldn’t afford it now.”
Julie Guille first heard about the Blackbirder on the night Maxl died. As a French war refugee who is in the United States illegally, the last thing Julie wants is to catch the eye of an old acquaintance, especially a German. She agrees to dine with him only to avoid a scene. “She smiled at him. Her smile looked real. She had learned to form it that way.” That night Maxl tells her the amazing story of a pilot who smuggles refugees across the Mexican border, a man they call the Blackbirder.
When Maxl is stabbed to death in front of her apartment building, Julie knows she will be the prime suspect. Only one person can help her escape: the Blackbirder. To find him, she will have to make her way across a strange country, using the skills she learned in wartime France. With the FBI and the Gestapo on her trail, Julie will need every bit of her courage and intelligence if she hopes to survive. Continue reading “The Blackbirder (1943) by Dorothy B. Hughes”
“He has to live with himself. He’s caught there in that lonely place. And when he sees he can’t get away—” Brub shrugged “Maybe suicide or the nut house—I don’t know. But I don’t think there’s any escape.”
Someone is killing women in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s someone like Dix Steele, a war veteran drifting around the city, claiming he’s writing a book. A man who views most other men with contempt and women with something worse.
Yes, maybe it’s someone very, very much like Dix… Continue reading “In a Lonely Place (1947) by Dorothy B. Hughes”
“If I had to draw a picture of hell, do you know what it would be? An enormous mouth whispering into an enormous ear. And never stopping.”
As World War II rages, the greatest danger one American soldier faces is from his own tortured psyche. Jeff Mitchell is an animator of propaganda, stationed at a small-town military base outside Washington DC. He feels useless with no chance of going into combat. Trapped in a fetid atmosphere of sex, violence, and boredom, he becomes convinced that his wife, Mary, is being unfaithful. If only he could be more like his mentor, Pete Keeley, who has just returned from the Pacific. If only he could kill… Continue reading “The Brick Foxhole (1945) by Richard Brooks”
“We came here to offer our sympathy,” Mrs. Poggett stuttered.
“Do you think I need it?”
A routine prison transfer goes terribly wrong when a gunman opens fire on a crowded train. The targets are convicted murderer Fred Tzegeti and his police escort Robert Luttrell. With a pile of cash found beside the bodies, local authorities are eager to hush up an apparent case of bribery. They reckoned without Amy Luttrell, who will do whatever it takes to clear her late husband’s name. Her quest for vengeance leads to powerful enemies who are just as determined to keep their sins buried—even if it means another dead body. Continue reading “Nets to Catch the Wind (1952) by Dolores Hitchens”
“Money could do a lot of things in this world. It could build you a castle, Sader told himself—or a dungeon.”
There are two kinds of money in Long Beach, California. Old money means prosperous Midwesterners who settled there a few decades ago; they speak only to each other. That’s Felicia Wanderley. New money comes from oil, and they tell themselves they have more fun without those snobs on Ocean Avenue. That’s Perry Ajoukian.
As far as anyone knows, these two have never met. They have only two things in common: both vanished on the same night, and both families retained the firm of Sader and Scarborough to investigate. It’s up to Sader and his partner Dan to learn whether Mrs. Wanderley and young Ajoukian are connected by one more thing—murder. Continue reading “Sleep with Strangers (1955) by Dolores Hitchens”