Hellcats and Honeygirls

Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake, Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $30 (400p) ISBN 978-1-59606-303-7
In the 1960s, Block and the late Westlake (1933–2008), not yet individually established as two of the world's most superbly talented crime writers, collaborated on three erotic pulp novels: A Girl Called Honey, So Willing, and Sin Hellcat. One pounded out a chapter on his typewriter and sent it off to the other, who reciprocated. Block's heartwarming introduction to this omnibus recounts their glee at killing off each other's characters and admiration for each other's great lines. (Block: "For the shadow of an instant he stared and his face was a study. Then there was a hole in it." Westlake: "Oh well, what the hell, there was always Adele.") The straightforward, raunchy stories are light on plot and heavy on drugs, guns, gold-hearted whores, manipulative lesbians, and charmingly hapless heroes. Readers will need to set aside their modern sensibilities to appreciate the mastery underneath the wild, hilariously euphemistic, and questionably consensual sex, but these classics are undeniably worth the effort. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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