Thursday, December 8, 2016

recent read; Borderline

Borderline by Lawrence Block

Well, I've wanted to read Block and I wanted to read a title from the Hard Case Crime line.

Here's a lesson for you - you might want to research these titles before you dive in.

Why? Because this isn't a Lawrence Block novel. Oh, he wrote it. But he wrote it under a pen name, "Don Holliday" when it was published Border Lust.

"Lust" as in sex and old "nightstand" pulp novels for men.

Borderline?  Yes, borderline porn.

The novel features four main characters washed up in El Paso; a gambling man, a wanton divorcee, a drifting prostitute and a serial killer. The serial killer is really the only crime thread happening. The rest of the stories are sex tales in various forms. The divorcee and the gambler hookup up, spend a wild night on the town in Juarez, Mexico, which just makes the divorcee hot for wilder stuff. Meanwhile the creepy guy with the razor is attacking women on both sides of the border.

Now, I'm not a prude. I wouldn't say this stuff was triple-X but it probably would be considered X-rated.

If anything, it felt like I was reading a Russ Meyer movie.

Anyway, I was looking for more crime and less sex (as fun as the sexy covers might be.) I am still going to delve into the Hard Case Crime line, but I'll be a little more careful about double-checking the origins of any given title before I start.


  1. Yeah, Hard Case has been reprinting a number of Block's older sex titles. He had a parallel career as a soft core paperback novelist in the 60s. He still writes that kind of thing as evidenced by last year's The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes. I'm not a prude either, but it was more pornographic than I want to read.

    Block's short stories are worth the time. As far as novels, try the Matthew Scudder series. The first three or so were written as stand-alones, but after that they become serial in terms of the character arc, not the plot. IIRC only the last two novels are directly connected by plot elements. Scudder ages in real time and is a very flawed but likeable protagonist.

    I've not read many of the more recent Hard Case titles due to time limitations. Most of the ones that were published as mmpbs are a safe bet, with a couple of exceptions. Earlier ones I recommend are A TOUCH OF DEATH by Charles Williams (probably my favorite), THE CONFESSION by Dominic Stansberry, THE MURDERER VINE by Shepard Rifkin, NOBODY'S ANGEL by Jack Clark, and GRAVE DESCEND by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange.

  2. Great cover. I got burned on a Hard Case Crime book I bought as well, in a somewhat different way. but man they do covers right.