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Gravetapping Blog
I have a thing for books. I love them, absolutely. There is nothing better--well almost nothing--than escaping into a dusty old bookstore and searching the stacks for that lost treasure.
Jim Kjelgaard's Adventure Magazine Stories
2022-04-27 16:00
Jim Kjelgaard’s Adventure Magazine Stories by Ben Boulden Jim Kjelgaard (pronounced kel-guard) is best remembered for his young adult adventures featuring dogs, young boys, and always… Read More
2022-03-31 21:25
The 1970’s men’s fiction market was rotten with revenge tales populated by veterans of America’s unpopular war in Vietnam. These isolated, disaffected, and angry men brough… Read More
2022-03-02 18:00
      Any readers kind enough to frequent Gravetapping have noticed an eerie quiet has settled in over the past several months. I was bored with blogging and things slipp… Read More
A STIR OF ECHOES By Richard Matheson
2021-04-14 18:30
      Richard Matheson’s 1958 novel, A Stir of Echoes, is more than a horror story. The plot is speculative—Tom Wallace, after being hypnotized at a neig… Read More
2021-01-23 16:30
Double Feature, a 2020 release from Hard Case Crime and originally published as Enough in 1977, includes a short novel and a novella. The novel, A Travesty, is a slanted whodunit, which is m… Read More
THE NICKEL BOYS By Colson Whitehead
2020-11-09 17:30
This is review is for a book different from the usual fare at Gravetapping, but it is a marvelous and important novel that satisfies on every level of good literature. It entertains, it educ… Read More
Books In Film:
2020-11-04 14:00
 When books appear as set background in film and television, I spend more time identifying the books than paying attention to the story. When a book gets actual screen time, it makes me… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2020-10-26 17:30
Condominium, by John D. MacDonald, was published in hardcover by J.P. Lippincott in 1977, but the edition that caught my eye is Fawcett Crest’s paperback reprint published in 1978. Bro… Read More
2020-07-11 18:00
The Tenth Virgin, by Gary Stewart (St. Martin’s Press, 1983), is the best mystery novel set in Utah I have read. It is a private eye novel starring Gabe Utley. Gabe was raised on the e… Read More
TIEBREAKER By Jack M. Bickham
2020-05-04 17:40
In 1989 a midlist writer named Jack Bickham published the slim suspense novel Tiebreaker. It was the first of six novels featuring aging professional tennis player, current teaching pro, som… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2020-03-30 15:30
The Burning Sky, by Ron Faust, was published in hardcover by Playboy Press in 1978, which is the very edition that caught my eye. The cover has a hardcover simplicity that pulls the me into… Read More
Bargain Friday: Three Freebies!
2020-03-20 11:00
It’s bargain Friday, and this time around I’ve collected a few free ebooks for your consideration. The first is W. Glenn Duncan’s Rafferty’s Rules:Rafferty ain’… Read More
2020-03-16 19:00
Ed Gorman is best remembered as a crime and western writer, but he wrote eight horror novels between 1986 (Toys in the Attic) and 1996 (Night Screams) using the pseudonym Daniel Ransom. The… Read More
Bargain Friday:
2020-03-14 01:06
A bargain on Robert Silverberg’s dark masterpiece, The Book of Skulls, and it’s in time for the socially distanced weekend. For a limited time it’s available for Kindle for… Read More
Bargain Friday:
2020-03-06 10:00
A bargain on the Richard Laymon’s In the Dark in time for the weekend. This was my introduction to Laymon’s work and I have fond memories reading the Leisure paperback edition so… Read More
Vintage Book Advertising: September, 1986
2020-03-02 14:00
A good friend sent me an old issue of Mystery Scenefrom September, 1986. The content is fascinating for readers with an interest in pretty much anything being published in popular fiction in… Read More
Bargain Friday:
2020-02-28 18:15
A bargain on the first book in Gregory Mcdonald’s Flynn. The first novel (of four) in, wait for it, the Flynn series. It’s a great weekend read, and it’s only 99-cents for… Read More
Black Gat - The Latest Titles!
2020-02-26 14:00
Stark House Press and its imprint Black Gat Books are my favorite classic crime publishers. Black Gat publishes mass market paperback editions and their latest titles are:Tears Are for Angel… Read More
Stark House's February Newsletter
2020-02-15 16:00
The February Stark House Press newsletter is live at their website:“The lead title—the book that Crime Club members will receive automatically—is another double volume from… Read More
2020-02-04 22:15
Ron Faust published 15 novels in a career that spanned nearly 40 years. The first, Tombs of Blue Ice, appeared in 1974 and the last, Jackstraw, was published posthumously in 2013. His work n… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2020-01-31 02:46
Water Hole, by Julian Jay Savarin, is a Gordon Gallagher thriller. There were at least five in the series and Water Hole is either the first or second. It was published as a hardcover by St… Read More
No Comment:
2020-01-27 14:00
“‘Because my mother married a communist who wouldn’t kiss the rebbe’s ass. The rebbe, by the way, was Jacob Levy’s father. So, one man won’t kiss, pretty… Read More
THE TRIBE By Bari Wood
2020-01-23 23:47
The Tribe, by Bari Wood (NAL, 1981), is a slow burning and suspenseful horror novel with a genuine Jewish golem at its core. It begins with the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp Belz… Read More
2020-01-17 16:42
I’ve never been accused of being a great writer or a prolific writer, but in 2019 I approached “working” writer status. I had four original crime short stories published. T… Read More
A Plurality Of Eagles
2020-01-14 00:47
Jack Higgins’ The Eagle Has Landed thundered onto the book scene in 1975. It was published simultaneously in the United Kingdom, by William Collins & Sons, and the United States, b… Read More
THE SPY IN THE BOX By Ralph Dennis
2020-01-07 14:30
The Spy in the Box was written by Ralph Dennis in the early 1980s, but this Brash Books edition, released nearly 40 years after it was written, is its first publication. … Read More
2019: The Year In Reading
2019-12-31 02:30
2019 was a solid reading year. I finished 51 titles, which is 13 fewer than last year’s mark. As usual, the majority of the titles were fiction, but I did increase my nonfiction intake… Read More
2019-12-20 01:30
The Poker Club, by Ed Gorman, originally published as a limited and signed edition hardcover by Cemetery Dance in 1999, is an expansion of Gorman’s sleek novella, “Out There in t… Read More
No Comment:
2019-11-18 13:30
“Sometimes, something happens that you can’t forgive. And it kills you because you can’t forgive. You drag it along with you your whole life and remember it at odd moments… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-11-11 13:30
The Fall Line, by Mark T. Sullivan, was published in hardcover by Kensington in 1994, but the edition that caught my eye is the Pinnacle paperback published in 1995. The pastels are from the… Read More
No Comment:
2019-10-21 12:00
“I found Edward Dollery, age forty-seven, defrocked accountant, big spender and dishonest person, living in a house rented in the name of Carol Pick. It was a new brick-veneer suburb b… Read More
Evolution (or Maybe Just Changes)
2019-08-12 12:38
      My magic as a writer—if I have any—happens in the second and third and fourth drafts. The first draft is a mad and passionate sprint. The characters and the… Read More
2019-08-01 12:00
I have a brand new short story in an anthology that hit the street last week. The anthology is Paul Bishop Presents… Criminal Tendencies. There are ten crime stories from Paul Bishop… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-07-27 13:15
Me, Hood!, by Mickey Spillane, is a paperback original published by Signet Books in 1969, which is the very the edition that caught my eye. The simplicity of the background, the large text… Read More
2019-07-08 12:30
I’ve been pushing my own stuff too frequently the past few weeks, both here and at Gravetapping’s Facebook page, but—and please forgive me—I wanted to tell you about… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-07-04 12:30
Deathwatch, by Elleston Trevor, was published as a hardcover by Beaufort Books in 1985, but the edition that caught my eye was the Star Book (imprint of W. H. Allen & Co.) mass market ed… Read More
2019-06-20 12:30
Vanda Symon’s Overkill, featuring Constable Sam Shephard, first appeared in Symon’s native New Zealand in 2007 and the series has since run to five books. But this edition of Ove… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-05-28 12:36
Nightmare, by Edward S. Aarons, was published as a hardcover by—I’m unsure of the publisher—in 1948. The edition that caught my eye was MacFadden Books’ 1963 mass mar… Read More
GIRL MOST LIKELY By Max  Allan Collins
2019-05-19 15:39
Girl Most Likelyis the first in a two-book series from Max Allan Collins, featuring chief of police Krista Larson. Krista’s patch is Galena, Illinois; the small and beautiful and touri… Read More
2019-05-13 12:30
Close-up, by Len Deighton, was published as a hardcover by Atheneum in 1972. The edition that caught my eye was Signet’s 1973 mass market edition. The black background frames the title… Read More
ONE FOR HELL By Jada M. Davis
2019-05-06 12:30
Stark House Press released a reprint of a 1952 Fawcett Red Seal original titled One for Hell written by Jada M. Davis back in 2010. Davis is a writer I wasn’t familiar with and after r… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-04-29 12:30
Teklords, by William Shatner, was published as a hardcover by Ace in 1991. The edition that caught my eye was Ace’s 1992 mass market edition. Its foil gold background and embossed titl… Read More
2019-04-25 12:30
A man can get into a lot of trouble if he’s lonely. If he’s just lonely enough and has time on his hands. That’s a combination made for trouble.Burt Keating is from New Yor… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-04-22 16:38
The Flight, by C. F. Runyan, was published as a trade paperback by Bantam in 1991. The edition that caught my eye was Bantam Falcon’s 1992 mass market edition. The shadowy and cold-col… Read More
2019-04-18 15:03
I’m a new arrival to the school of Robert Silverberg. I read The Book of Skulls in 2005 and I’ve made a point to read at least some Silverberg every year since. A few weeks ago I… Read More
Echoes: SFBC Advertising Insert (1980s?)
2019-04-16 18:28
A few weeks ago I posted an image of an old Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) newsletter—click here—and while I was cleaning out a desk drawer a couple days ago, I found this cool… Read More
2019-04-06 19:38
A poor condition mass market paperback followed me on Thursday, Sleaze, by L. A. Morse. I’ve heard people speak well, and poorly, about this novel featuring private eye, Sam Hunter. An… Read More
2019-04-01 23:00
Rod has been a pitchman for a carnival sideshow—“a lousy mud-show that never played anywhere north of Tennessee”—for three seasons and he’s good at the spiel, c… Read More
2019-03-28 12:30
Ed Gorman’s Sam McCain—small town lawyer and investigator—is at the top of my list for private eye serial characters. He is charming, sarcastic, funny, and cool in an off-h… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-03-25 12:30
Bloodfire, by John Lutz, was published as a hardcover by Henry Holt in 1991, but the edition that caught my eye was Avon’s 1992 paperback edition. A perfectly tropical setting with oh… Read More
2019-03-21 15:45
A favorite anthology of mine, featuring vintage hardboiled crime stories, is American Pulp; edited by Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg, and published by Carroll & Graf in… Read More
2019-03-12 16:31
Richard S. Wheeler died on February 24, 2019, at the age of 83. He was a brilliant writer and a genuinely nice man. I was lucky enough to have corresponded with him over the past decade. Our… Read More
2019-03-11 12:30
The Peninsula is “a comma of land hooking into the sea southeast of Melbourne” in Victoria, Australia. A tourist destination known for beaches, wineries, and coastal towns. It is… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2019-02-25 22:00
Tropical Heat, by John Lutz, was published as a hardcover by Henry Holt in 1986, but the edition that caught my eye was Avon’s 1987 paperback edition. I’m a sucker for tropical s… Read More
2019-02-20 00:30
His name was Jimmie Prescott and he is thirty-one years of age. Five foot ten. Slight build. He’s a loner. A sniper. A killer. The sort of sniper who sets up over a busy city stre… Read More
2019-01-23 00:14
Stephen J. Cannell’s fourteenth novel, At First Sight, received mixed reviews from the critics when it was released in 2008.  Publishers’ Weekly called it “disappointi… Read More
2018: The Year In Reading
2019-01-09 22:36
2018 was a great year for reading. I finished, and this is an amazing number for me, 64 titles, which is nine more than last year’s mark and eight more than 2016’s. The majority… Read More
2019-01-06 18:45
Another older review of an early Brian Garfield western novel. Mr. Garfield passed away, after a years-long battle with Parkinson’s disease, on December 28, 2018. When I have a hole in… Read More
2019-01-04 18:10
Brian Garfield died on December 28, 2018. He was a wonderful writer and storyteller. He started as a western writer, many of his early westerns were published in hardcover by Avalon and then… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2018-12-19 14:15
Christmas Stars, edited by David G. Hartwell, is a Christmas-themed anthology published as a paperback original by Tor in 1992, which is the very edition that caught my eye. The cover is San… Read More
MIA HUNTER: L.A. GANG WAR By Stephen Mertz
2018-10-26 16:55
A three-man strike force accustomed to rescuing prisoners of war in the jungles of Vietnam is stateside on a rogue mission in Los Angeles. Mark Stone, known as the MIA Hunter, is asked by an… Read More
2018-06-20 18:56
A poem I wrote several months ago, today seems relevant. “Us”I asked, is America dead?An endearing, weary smile: the republic is old, without faith.Her skin pale, sullied by time… Read More
Thrift Shop Book Covers:
2018-05-21 18:00
Twister, by David Hagberg, was published as a paperback original by Dell in 1975, which is the very edition that caught my eye. The cover is everything I want a cover to be; a burning statio… Read More
2018-05-16 16:44
The Peacemakeris a wonderfully written, entertaining, and thought-provoking novel. Calvin Taylor, also known by his unwanted nickname Choctaw, is a teenager--six weeks past his eighteenth bi… Read More

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