Ray Corson
Created by Max Phillips

One of the first books released under the Hard Case Crime imprint, co-founder Max Phillips' Fade to Blonde immediately set the standard for the feisty paperback imprint. It's a tough, unapologetically raunchy pastiche about an ex-pug and ex-screenwriter turned construction worker. RAY CORSON is a rough-and-tumble guy always on the lookout for a little extra geetus. But when failed actress-turned-hat check girl Rebecca LaFontaine (don't you just dig that name?) asks Ray to protect her from a former boyfriend (a failed actor who's now a pornographer and mobster wannabe), things take a decided turn toward the nasty.

Of course, it's shouldn't come as a shock to discover that Rebecca is more than a little truth-challenged (and, it turns out, more than a little twisted) and that things promptly go to hell. But Phillips manages to bring some real spirit and spit to these proceedings, dishing out great sexually charged banter and at least one scene of violence that's delivered so matter-of-factly, I swear I read the same sentence over and over, not believing my eyes. Phillips' 50s-era Hollywood may be a seedy maelstrom of broken dreams and desperate losers, but this taut, hard novel is a winner.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Adapted from the January Magazine Rap Sheet review.

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