cover image Ronald Rabbit is a Dirty Old Man

Ronald Rabbit is a Dirty Old Man

Lawrence Block. Subterranean Press, $16 (150pp) ISBN 978-1-892284-56-3

Master mystery writer Block has dabbled in his time in many genres, and early in his career, back in 1971, he published a handful of paperback erotic novels under a pseudonym; this is one of them. He wanted, he says, to have fun with an epistolary novel, and this is written entirely in the form of letters by a fired magazine editor, Larry Clarke, to his former wife, his previous employers, his previous wife's lover and so on. Block's knack of keeping things moving was prodigious even then, and the novel is a rapid and often amusing read, in which Larry Clarke takes sharp potshots at all and sundry, to often delicious effect. The erotic part is less successful, however; Larry (Clarke or Block) was under the impression, common to pornographers, that women crave anal penetration, which makes some of the sex scenes rather distasteful and far from aphrodisiac in effect. It's an interesting glimpse, nonetheless, of the early skills of one of our great noir stylists. (Feb.)