cover image Web of the City

Web of the City

Harlan Ellison. Hard Case Crime, $9.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-78116-420-4

Originally published in 1958 under the title Rumble, Edgar-winner Ellison’s first novel—about a Brooklyn street gang—bears some plot parallels to the musical West Side Story. Rusty Santoro has stepped down as leader of the Cougars, but, unsurprisingly, finds that ending his connection with them and starting fresh is not so simple. His successor, Candle, is looking to send a message by administering a beating to Santoro, forcing Santoro to defend himself—and get back into the world of violence he is trying to escape. The ugliness only escalates from there, ultimately claiming a life. Readers should be prepared for a neophyte writer’s occasional awkward phrasing (e.g., “The spoor of conquest was high in Rusty now”) and action that’s pretty tame by today’s standards of urban crime fiction. “No Way Out” and two other short stories published in 1950s magazines round out the volume. (Apr.)