with Harding Young

Thompson vs. Block

This is not a cute fight.

It would be nothing less than epic, a crime noir bout of the century, should these two heavyweight writers step into the ring.

In one corner is Jim Thompson, often considered the ungodly love child of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich. His chilling and brutal works include The Killer Inside Me and A Hell of a Woman — books filled with booze and babes, double crosses, and wild, violent sex.

In the other is Lawrence Block, the godfather of crime fiction. His works span decades and include such unholy characters as Matthew Scudder and the hitman Keller. His early works are a buffet of one night stands, stag parties, heavy drinking and serious fucking.

For a ringside seat, just read them back to back. I’ve just done it, hitting Thompson’s Pop. 1280, chased by Block’s Borderline.

Pop. 1280 introduces you to Marshall Nick Corey, an idiot-savant whose narration comes with a sinister smile and a wink. To quote my own review on Goodreads…

I wouldn’t want to say I don’t much care for Nick Corey, but I wouldn’t say I like him none neither. Why, I guess he just makes you not want to trust him and his sorry way of carrying out God’s work, sheriffin’ the good 1280 people of Pottsville. Well, I’d say he’s got him a parti-clar way of story tellin’, one that has you feeling he’s not all he says he is. But, I guess you probably know better. Maybe then you can just put the book down and walk away. But I’m bettin’ you can’t.

Block’s Borderline takes you to the border between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. Five lives intertwine with fatal results. As Hard Case Crime puts it, “this is Block at his rawest and most visceral, a bloody, bawdy, brutal story of passion and punishment — and lines that were never meant to be crossed.”

Hardcore sex and violence permeate the pages and if that doesn’t get your blood going your best to put this book down because, trust me, you’re not going to like what you find. But some of us like it raunchy. Some of us like it a little dirty. There is definitely a borderline here. If you cross it, you’re not coming back.

I’m betting this bout goes the distance. As for the winner… I’m thinking it’s a split.

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