Chalk line Books


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Within the next few weeks Chalk Line Books will be releasing what we endorse as maybe the greatest heist novel of all time — The Killing by Lionel White, which Stanley Kubrick made into a great noir film. If you haven’t read it before, you simply must now. It’s that good.

We have told you before that we hope to take up where Black Lizard Press left off. We have many superb crime fiction classics coming this fall and next spring. But we can use your help right now. We want to build a tight mailing list of people who, like us, are to-the-max fans of vintage crime fiction.

For everyone who has a decent mailing list of such folks and is willing to add them to our Chalk Line Posse, we will send you your choice of one of our cool t-shirts or a pdf of one of the Chalk Line books. Our pledge to you is to use your mailing list ONLY to build ours. We promise not to give or sell any name to anyone else.

As you have seen, we do not send out flurries of emails. Only those that announce new books, etc. And anyone wishing to unsubscribe only has to tell us. We will be honorable curators of our Chalk Line Posse list.

So please, let us know if you can help us build a publishing house worthy of the vintage crime fiction we hope to publish.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Tom Graves and Darrin Devault
Chalk Line Books

Follow Me Quietly(1949)

FMQ_TallFOLLOW ME QUIETLY is a short noir film about the hunt for a serial killer, though that term wasn’t in use back then. It is notable because Anthony Mann, perhaps best known for his westerns, mostly with Jimmy Stewart, co-directed in an uncredited role though he did receive screen credit for the story for the screenplay.

The killer calls himself The Judge and claims it is his mission to rid the world of worthless sinners. He strangles his victims, always at night, always while it is raining. He leaves a note with each body proclaiming his mission with whatever’s handy: a woman’s lipstick, in one instance words cut from newspapers and magazines. In six months, he’s killed seven people, men and women, though the seventh, a newspaper editor, fights him, falling out of a window. It’s that fall that actually kills him, though he lives long enough to give a slim description.

Lt. Harry Grant(William Lundigan) is the policeman in charge of the investigation. Sgt. Art Collins(Jeff Corey) is his partner. Using the few clues they have, footprints where they can estimate height and weight, clothing fibers that give them a type of suit, he has a life size dummy built to aid in the hunt, distributing photos of it to all police.

Dorothy Patrick(Ann Gorman) is a persistent reporter of a cheap magazine whodownload wants the story. Lt. Grant and she are like oil and water at first. He wants nothing to do with her and gets her camera film confiscated more than once. They finally strike a deal where the five hundred dollars she’s offering for his story goes to a police fund.

The final showdown is in the catacombs of a refinery with a desperate battle between Grant and The Judge(Douglas Spencer) ends the menace.


New In The House


1: Harlan 101: Encountering Ellison – Harlan Ellison

2: Children of The Streets – Harlan Ellison: two collections of Ellison stories.

3: Lancaster’s Orphans – Robert J. Randisi:: t certainly wasn’t what Lancaster had expected. When he rode in to Council Bluffs, he thought he would just stop at the bar for a beer. How could he know he’d ride right into the middle of a lynching? Lancaster couldn’t let an innocent man be hanged, but when the smoke cleared and the lynching was stopped, a bystander lay dying on the ground, caught in the crossfire. With his last breath he asked Lancaster to take care of the people who had been depending on him—a wagon train filled with women and children on their way to California

4: Duet: Two Novellas – Ed McBain: Charles Gramlich turned me on to this one. He’s reading it. Not related to his 87th Precinct novels.

5: Vengeance At Sundown _ Larry D. Sweazy: Lucas Fume has had plenty of fights in his life: spying for the Confederate Army, standing up to the railroad company when they tried to take his land, then getting framed for the murder of his business partner—only to lose his land as well as the love of his life. But Lucas isn’t finished fighting yet… With help from Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Henry, a fellow inmate and former slave, Lucas manages to escape prison. Riding with Zeke to St. Louis, he soon discovers that his former partner is still alive, using a different name, and doing big business with the railroads—and he has Lucas’s lost love with him. On the run from the law and up against a rich and influential enemy, Lucas is about to take on the most dangerous fight of his life.

6: Deadly Day In Tombstone – William W. Johnstone: second book in the new Texas John slaughter series.

7: The Homesman – Glendon Swarthout: novel the new movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank is based on.

8: Skeleton Trail – Kathy Riley: A mystery where someone doesn’t want an eighty year old skeleton, found with a bullet hole in the skull, investigated.

9: Watch Me Go(ARC) – Mark Wisniewski: A man is up for three murders he didn’t commit.

and the ebook:

10: Roping A Planet – Richard Prosch: the third Jo Harper story where someone apparently wants to kill a giant horse.

11: A Dubious Crime(review copy) _ Gerald J. Kubicki & Kristopher Kubicki: the ninth Colton Banyon mystery

12: The Next Breath(review copy) – Laurel Osterkamp: Robin loves sweet, responsible Nick, with his penchant for Beethoven and Ben Folds Five. But she also still loves her college boyfriend Jed, an irreverent playwright plagued with cystic fibrosis. Now Robin is struggling to reveal her secrets and confront her past, as she finally performs in the play that Jed wrote for her, eleven years ago. Will Robin have the strength to keep her promise and stay true to her heart?
Alternating between present-day scenes, college flashbacks, and segments from Jed’s play, this tear-jerking yet uplifting tale illustrates how life is finite but love is infinite, and the road to recovery begins with the next breath.

Five Giants From Texas(I Cinque Della Vendetta)1966



About all this movie had going for it was the presence of Guy Madison, TV’s Wild Bill Hickock. A mediocre script I’ll get into in a bit.images

Here’s the set-up:

Jim Latimore(Germano Longo) owns a ranch somewhere along the Texas/Mexican border. He’s a thorn in the Gonzales family’s side. Three cousins, Latimore’s ranch abuts The Gonzales spread. The peons in the area like Latimore best. He treats them well as they farm his land and he allows them to keep the bulk, if not all, of their crops. Gonzales(Gianni Solaro) doesn’t like that. But even worse, Latimore married a Gonzales cousin and they have a small boy.

3092They try to set him up to be killed by arranging a hanging of a friend. Orders are only to shoot when Latimore draws his gun. Legality must be observed. He’s just about to when the friend, sensing that, kicks the barrel from under him and stops it. Gonzales then hires a gang to raid the Latimore ranch. El Matanza(Antonio Molino Rojo) is the leader, an especially vicious man. All adults are slaughtered, the Gonzales cousin taken to him, and the baby to be raised as a real Gonzales. Rosario Latimore(Mónica Randallosar) is violated and turned out to survive on her own for daring to marry a gringo.

Then it’s three years later.

Five men come to revenge the death of Jim Latimore, restore Rosario to her230px-Cincode home, and reunite her with her son.

John(Guy Madison), Alan(Mariano Vidal Molina), Dan(Vassili Karis), Indios(Giovanni Cianfriglia), and Ramon(José Manuel Martin) were all friends of Jim Latimore. Now here’s how different translations can change a film. Madison’s character is listed on IMDb as Tex. On the Spaghetti Western Database, he’s Tex/Jim Latimore, which would imply a relation to the dead man, probably brother. But in the version I watched on Youtube, he’s never referred to as anything but John and describes he and the others only as friends, though the viciousness with which he cuts Gonzales to pieces with a pistol in the finale might imply otherwise.

Los cinco de la venganza (1966) 3Now the mediocre script I mentioned earlier. They are captured by El Matanza and staked out in the desert. Three men are left to watch the sun do it’s work. Indio had supposedly been shot off his horse earlier while providind a diversion(which didn’t work), but you just know he’s around somewhere. He waits until dark to rescue his four friends and Rosario, leaving the hot sun to work on them all day. Next we see them on foot in the desert. Where were the three dead outlaws’ horses? They certainly wouldn’t have been left on foot in the middle of a desert. More chance for the sun to beat them down.

Presumed dead, they take a horse from a Gonzales rider and send him to inform Gonzales they are coming for him. And when. Why? Surprise would be on their side.

I’d give it a C. Hey, I like spaghettis.

FFB: Featuring The Saint – Leslie Charteris


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FeaturingTheSaintFEATURING THE SAINT was first published in 1931. The three novellas collected in the book first appeared in THRILLER MAGAZINE IN ’29 & ’30 UNDER DIFFERENT TITLES.

THE LOGICAL ADVENTURE finds the Saint out to stop a drug smuggler and a human trafficker in young women.

THE WONDERFUL WAR finds the Saint in a small Central American country fomenying a bloodless revolution to stop a murderer And a thief who’d bilked a young woman of an inheritance with faked contracts.

THE MAN WHO COULD NOT DIE was an adrenaline freak who’d survived17.Pb.K109FeaturingTheSaint_ countless dangerous things. But he makes the mistake of murdering an old friend of The Saint, it was ruled an accident, and having designs on a young woman.

These stories were written early in Charteris’ career and were very much of their time. The Saint here is different from the later stories and far different from the Roger Moore TV version.

The cover below is from Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint of uniform additions.


Roping A Planet(Jo Harper # 3) – Richard Prosch



81nkc1KO70L._SL1500_The third Jo Harper adventure is as fun and inventive as the previous entries.

Twelve year old Jo, secret deputy of old Abby Drake, is part of the team protecting the giant horse Jupiter. The owners want to get the big animal in the burgeoning movie industry and someone else seems to have other ideas.

Bullets fired at it, a flaming arrow that just misses both Jo and the horse, and finally the barn Jupiter was hidden in set on fire. In the latter instance, Jupiter wasn’t even in the barn, Jo finding him tied in a nearby thicket.

Young Jo comes up with a plan to catch the would be killer.

As mentioned, wonderful fun for readers. Author Richard Prosch knows the minds of his young charges and writs with a sure hand. You can get it here.



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Impact_1949_posterMillionaire industrialist Walter Williams( Brian Donlevy) is a man who started at the bottom, literally the bottom, and worked his way up to company president. He’s about to close a deal to buy three factories in Denver and increase the company fortunes. He wants drive up with his beautiful young wife, Irene(Helen Walker), who begs off claiming a toothache. She finally agrees to meet him to save the fighting of traffic. When she’s not there, he calls and learns the tooth has gotten worse. She asks a favor. A cousin she hasn’t seen in years had popped up and wanted a ride as far as Denver.

It’s all a ruse. Jim Torrance(Tony Barrett) is really her young lover and they’reIMPACT plotting to kill Williams. While driving as Williams naps, a flat tire is arranged on a lonely stretch late at night. He slugs Williams with a lug wrench and shoves him down a hill with coat, hat, and brief case when a moving van stops for assistance. In a panic, Torrance jumps into the roadster and rushes awy only to head-on with a gas truck.

While the van driver, Character actor Tom Greenway in his first role, tries to render assistance, a wounded and dazed Williams crawl into the back and is carried away from the scene. The van and Williams part ways when he gets out in Larkspur, Idaho. He forgets his brief case which drives all that follows.

It’s found and a fingerprint belonging to Torrance is on it. The murder business unravels and the wife is arrested for murder. A search is on for Torrance.

Poster - Impact_05Williams has hired on as a mechanic at a garage owned by the widow Marsha Peters(Ella Raines). He’s always loved that and falls into a contented state even while following the murder of himself in the papers, even to keeping clippings. He’s fallen for Marsha. boarding in her home with Marsha and her mother. Marsha knows he’s been terribly hurt by something in his past, but bides her time. Mother finds the clippings and tells him he should tell Marsha, knowing how they feel about each other. Williams does and plans to move on. But Marsha convinces him to do the right thing.

Bad Move.

Several months had gone by and the wife is a convincing liar, persuading themaxresdefault D.A. that Williams murdered her lover. Williams doesn’t help matters by ‘bending’ the truth a bit, claiming Torrance was a hitch-hiker and he’d been suufering from amnesia for those three months. He goes on trial for murder.

It takes Marsha teaming with an old cop, Lt. Tom quincy(Charles Coburn), who believes Williams to find the truth. That involves finding a Chinese maid, Su Lin(Anna May Wong).

Decent little film.


New In The House


1: SF: Star Trek Seekers 1: Second Nature – david Mack

2: SF: Star trek: Seekers: 2: Point of divergence – Dayton ward & Kevin Dilmore: I like the retro covers of this new series which harkens back to the James Blish covers of his short story novelizations of TOS.

3: SF: Star Trek: No Time Like The Past – Greg Cox: a time mix-up inserts Seven of Nine into Kirk’s past during serious negotiations with two alien races. He has to help her get home while other forces want her. And Knowing Kirk’s reputation, he’s likely to put some moves on her himself.

4: Doctor Who: Engines of War – George Mann: an episode during the Dalek/Time Lord war with the War Doctor.

and the ebooks:

5: WE: The Empty Badge – Wayne D. Dundee: A Cash Laramie adventure with first publication on it’s own

6: WE: The Rattler Gane – W. E. Fieldhouse: the third Klaw novel brought us by Rough Edges Press


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