I knew when I first heard about this book that I'd want to read it. I've read only a few books by Dan J. Marlowe, but two of them, THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH and ONE ENDLESS HOUR, are among the best hardboiled crime novels I've ever read. Also, I nearly always enjoy biographies of writers, especially the ones that have a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff about writing in them.
GUNSHOTS IN ANOTHER ROOM, Charles Kelly's biography of Marlowe, certainly qualifies. I had no idea that Marlowe had written porn novels and men's magazine stories, although neither of those things surprises me. This book just confirms something that I've come to learn over the years: writers who I would have thought were quite successful financially often really weren't. A lot of times even writers who publish regularly struggle to make ends meet. That was true of Marlowe as well.
I also didn't know that Marlowe collaborated to such a large extent with William C. Odell. I knew Odell's name was on one of Marlowe's novels as co-author but had no idea that Odell also contributed to at least a dozen more. Nor did I know that Odell wrote three of the Nick Carter novels on his own. I don't think I've read those three books, but I'm not sure.
GUNSHOTS IN ANOTHER ROOM also contains a lot of information about Marlowe's other collaborator, bank robber Al Nussbaum, including a rundown of Nussbaum's criminal career, and the most complete portrait yet of Marlowe's medical problems which led to a bout of amnesia that sidetracked his writing career for a number of years. It's all fascinating stuff and very well-written with a novelistic flair by Kelly, a crime novelist himself in addition to his career in journalism. All of it adds up to make GUNSHOTS IN ANOTHER ROOM a fascinating book and definitely one of the best things I've read this year. Highly recommended. Available in both print and e-book editions.