Hard Case Crime: Fifty to One

BOOK: Hard Case Crime: Fifty to One
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Raves For the Work of CHARLES ARDAI!

“Deliciously entertainin...[one of those] crime tales so sharp they’ll slice your fingers as you flip the pages.”


Playboy

“Excellen...[Ardai] has done a fine job of capturing both the style and the spirit of the classic detective novel.”


Chicago Sun-Times

“An instant classic. The...climax of this novel, as unexpected as it is powerful, will move you in ways that crime fiction rarely can.”


The Washington Post

“Barrels forth at the speed of [a] Manhattan taxi...and contains some whiplash-inducing plot twists...Tightly written from start to finish, this crime novel is as satisfyingly edgy as the pulp classics that inspired it.”


Publishers Weekly

“A wonderful novel, brilliantly plotted, beautifully written, and completely satisfying. I
loved
the book.”


Richard S. Prather

“Dark energy and period perfection.”


Chicago Tribune

“It isn’t just great—it’s phenomenal. Easily, this is the best crime novel [of the year] thus far.”


Bookgasm

“Hands down, the best mystery novel of the year. It might be the best mystery written in America in years. [This] book...packs a punch that left me breathlessly turning the pages.”

—Book Reporter

“Another sure-fire winner...Reads like a collaboration between Henry Miller and Mickey Spillane.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Expertly crafted in every way and ending with one of the most shocking...conclusions in recent memory.”

—Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

“Reads like O. Henry run amok in McBain’s 87th Precinct.”

—Ink19

“Classic pulp.”

—Kevin Burton Smith, January Magazine

“A wonderful chase from start to finish.”

—Charlie Stella

“Excellent...terrific.”

—The Globe and Mail

“Able to cut to the heart of a character or a situation with equal ease, he has a voice as unforgettable as his stories.”

—Billie Sue Mosiman

“[Ardai] builds his tale slowly and really throws it into high gear in the emotional final chapters.”

—George Pelecanos

“A pleasant visit to an unpleasant society where honor and loyalty count for more than life.”

—James Crumley

“Another standout [about a] man on a memorable downward spiral.”

—The Boston Globe

“[A] layered hard boiled work [with] an ending that leaves readers mouthing ‘wow!’...Essential reading.”

—Library Journal

“Gives Chandler a run for his money.”

—Paramour

“The best thing since bread sliced with a bloody knife...[Ardai] writes with genius.”

—Dick Adler

“It knocked my socks off. The last 30 pages, I don’t think I took a breath.”

—Megan Abbott

“The best Hard Case Crime offering I’ve read in a very long time. It’s fast, suspenseful, profound, violent, witty, disturbing, and heartrending.”

—About to Charge

“A crime novel with an end that you won’t soon forget...there’s something so classic about it that, when you read it, you can’t help but picture the story unfolding in crisp black-and-white.”

—Nights and Weekends

“This guy’s a gold mine,” Borden said, jabbing with the back of his pen at the newest book to grace his desk. “He’s the genuine article. Gold Medal wishes they could find a guy like this.”

The book was titled
I Robbed the Mob!
and was credited to that most prolific of authors, Anonymous, but Tricia was as proud of it as if her name had been plastered all over the cover. The illustration showed a man in a heavy overcoat, his face hidden in shadows, advancing on a buxom woman in a torn blouse. What that had to do with robbing the Mob, Tricia had no idea. But Borden said it would sell books.

Beneath the title it said

Torn From the Headlines!

The Scandalous True Story of One Man’s

LIFE in the UNDERWORLD!

“You know what Casper Citron said about us on his program yesterday?” Borden said. “He called the book reprehensible. Said we glorified crime. That’s good for a thousand copies, easy. The thing’s selling, Trixie. You did good—you and this guy you found.” Borden grabbed his jacket from a hook on the back of the door, shrugged it on. “You think he really ripped off his boss?”

“Oh, I’m sure he wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true,” Tricia said.

“Man,” Borden said. “The guy has guts. I tell you, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes the day someone hands Nicolazzo a copy of the book.”

It was at that moment that the frosted glass pane in Borden’s door shattered...

SOME OTHER HARD CASE CRIME BOOKS YOU WILL ENJOY:

SONGS OF INNOCENCE
by Richard Aleas

FRIGHT
by Cornell Woolrich

KILL NOW, PAY LATER
by Robert Terrall

SLIDE
by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

DEAD STREET
by Mickey Spillane

DEADLY BELOVED
by Max Allan Collins

A DIET OF TREACLE
by Lawrence Block

MONEY SHOT
by Christa Faust

ZERO COOL
by John Lange

SHOOTING STAR/SPIDERWEB
by Robert Bloch

THE MURDERER VINE
by Shepard Rifkin

SOMEBODY OWES ME MONEY
by Donald E. Westlake

NO HOUSE LIMIT
by Steve Fisher

BABY MOLL
by John Farris

THE MAX
by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

GUN WORK
by David J. Schow

KILLING CASTRO
by Lawrence Block*

THE DEAD MAN’S BROTHER
by Roger Zelazny*

THE CUTIE
by Donald E. Westlake*

HOUSE DICK
by E. Howard Hunt*

CASINO MOON
by Peter Blauner*

* coming soon

FIFTY-
to
-ONE

by
Charles Ardai

A HARD CASE CRIME BOOK

(HCC-050)

First Hard Case Crime edition: December 2008

Published by

Titan Books

A division of Titan Publishing Group Ltd

144 Southwark Street

London

SE
1
OUP

in collaboration with Winterfall LLC

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should know that it is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

Copyright © 2008 by Winterfall LLC

Cover painting copyright © 2008 by Glen Orbik

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Print edition ISBN 978-0-85768-324-3

E-book ISBN 978-0-85768-396-0

Cover design by Cooley Design Lab

Design direction by Max Phillips

www.maxphillips.net

Typeset by Swordsmith Productions

The name “Hard Case Crime” and the Hard Case Crime logo are trademarks of Winterfall LLC. Hard Case Crime books are selected and edited by Charles Ardai.

Printed in the United States of America

Visit us on the web at
www.HardCaseCrime.com

For Max Phillips, Without whom

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter One: Grifter’s Game

Chapter Two: Fade to Blonde

Chapter Three: Top of the Heap

Chapter Four: Little Girl Lost

Chapter Five: Two for the Money

Chapter Six: The Confession

Chapter Seven: Home Is the Sailor

Chapter Eight: Kiss Her Goodbye

Chapter Nine: 361

Chapter Ten: Plunder of the Sun

Chapter Eleven: Branded Woman

Chapter Twelve: Dutch Uncle

Chapter Thirteen: The Colorado Kid

Chapter Fourteen: The Girl With the Long Green Heart

Chapter Fifteen: The Gutter and the Grave

Chapter Sixteen: Night Walker

Chapter Seventeen: A Touch of Death

Chapter Eighteen: Say It With Bullets

Chapter Nineteen: Witness to Myself

Chapter Twenty: Bust

Chapter Twenty-One: Straight Cut

Chapter Twenty-Two: Lemons Never Lie

Chapter Twenty-Three: The Last Quarry

Chapter Twenty-Four: The Guns of Heaven

Chapter Twenty-Five: The Last Match

Chapter Twenty-Six: Grave Descend

Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Peddler

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Lucky At Cards

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Robbie’s Wife

Chapter Thirty: The Vengeful Virgin

Chapter Thirty-One: The Wounded and the Slain

Chapter Thirty-Two: Blackmailer

Chapter Thirty-Three: Songs of Innocence

Chapter Thirty-Four: Fright

Chapter Thirty-Five: Kill Novo, Pay Later

BOOK: Hard Case Crime: Fifty to One
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