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Ted Lewis. Soho Crime, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-550-2

First published in 1980, this gritty tale of paranoia and violence from British author Lewis (1940–1982) shines an unflinching light on London’s thriving pornography scene in the 1970s. In the past, George Fowler was the undistributed kingpin of hardcore pornographic films known as “Blues,” and he lived the high life with his devoted wife, Jean, the two sharing a penchant for violence and sex. In the present, George is hiding out, alone, in the seaside town of Mablethorpe under an alias. Jean, who also pulled double duty as his bookkeeper, discovered someone in the distribution operation—which in the days before the Internet involved a series of middlemen to produce and ensure discreet delivery to recipients—was skimming substantial amounts. This sent George and his seemingly trustworthy right-hand man on a hunt to find the person—or persons—responsible, with dire consequences. As George’s vendetta unspools in the past, it becomes clearer why he’s hiding out, as every new face in town is greeted with fear and suspicion. Lewis, best known for Get Carter, gives new meaning to suspense with this masterly tale of a man’s downfall and the bloody trail he leaves behind. (Apr.)