cover image The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction

The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction

Edward Gorman. Black Lizard Books, $15.95 (664pp) ISBN 978-0-88739-094-4

Gorman's taste runs to hardboiled crime fiction that, like Hitchcock films, reveals the sinister impulse toward subversion and violence in ordinary people. The 39 tales, including Murder Me for Nickels , Peter Rabe's 1960 novella about jukebox racketeers, are a pleasing mix of new offerings and classics from the pulp magazines of the '50s and '60s. Ray Bradbury's ``The Candy Skull'' is a chilling lover's rivalry set against Mexico's Day of Death celebration. Mickey Spillane's heartfelt ``The Affair with the Dragon Lady,'' on aging men trying to preserve their youth, combines emotive and criminal elements wonderfully. The resourceful Gorman succeeds in providing a surfeit of surprises in an overall delightful collection, although a few lesser pieces might have been excluded, such as ``A Dreadful Lemon Pie,'' Timothy P. Banse's hackneyed yarn of a psychic who leads police to a serial killer. Gorman is executive editor of Mystery Scene magazine. (Jan. )