The week-long silence on this blog means, of course, that I've been hunkered down writing. For a while there, all the medical problems going on meant that my output was reduced by about 40%. The last week I've been trying to catch up and have just about gotten back to my usual pace. How long that will last, though, I don't know, since things continue to be unsettled. At least I have my schedule for the rest of the year pretty well worked out, so I know what I need to write and when. Assuming that nothing else sells. At the moment, all I'm doing are ghost jobs and house-name books, but I'm certainly glad to have the work.
I found myself in Denton yesterday, so I had to stop by Recycled Books. I hadn't been there in a while, and the last few times I went I found little or nothing I wanted. Yesterday the pickings were still pretty slim, but I did pick up a couple of okay items. One was an Ace Double Western I didn't have, GUNS AT Q CROSS by Merle Constiner (one of the old reliables and a veteran of the pulps) and THE TOUGHEST TOWN IN THE TERRITORY by Tom West (actually an Englishman named Fred East, with a quirky but entertaining style). The other was a digest-sized paperback called EMPIRE OF CRIME, reprinting a Nick Carter novel from the Thirties pulp version of the character. This edition was published by an outfit called Vital Books in 1945. The novel originally appeared in the April 1933 issue of NICK CARTER DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, the second issue of the pulp series. But I don't know who actually wrote it under the Nicholas Carter house-name. I want to say that Richard Wormser is generally credited with writing the Nick Carter pulp novels, but my memory could be totally wrong about that.
During my hiatus from blogging I read THE TWO MINUTE RULE by Robert Crais, which I liked a lot. I've read several of Crais's stand-alones but none of the books he's best-known for, the Elvis Cole series. THE TWO MINUTE RULE is a dandy with a semi-Gold Medal feel to it, with an ex-con hero and a very twisty plot involving serial bank robbers and millions of dollars in missing loot. Highly recommended. I've started the new -- or sort of new -- Hard Case Crime book by Lawrence Block, LUCKY AT CARDS. More about that later.