Stark House Press

N e w s l e t t e r,  v o l u m e  1,   i s s u e  1

Silent Wall/Marvin Palaver

Opening Lines from Peter Rabe:

Hitch was with this great, high-heeled monster of a woman and the only reason I was along, I spoke Italian and Hitch did not. It turned out that the woman was not Italian at all, she was Sicilian, and her glue-voiced accent was so heavy that I understood almost as little as  Hitch. Not that it mattered.
                           -- from The Silent Wall

The alarm screamed and kept screaming as the two men leaped out of the dark, ran down the alley and into their car. When the screaming did not sound so loud any more it became like a bug in the ear, a bug that stung.        
  "Don't choke it, for God's sake, don't stall now—"
 "Just shut up," said the younger one, "just shut up—"
from Hard Case Redhead

I died at the worst possible moment in life, just when I was coming out even. I'm not talking you come out ahead, let's be realistic, but to come out even with Sidney Minsk, may he live to be a poor man forever, that is worth a life­time of troubles.

          --from The Return of Marvin Palaver

Hello, Everyone—

Stark House Press is happy to announce the long-awaited publication of the late, great Peter Rabe’s final manuscripts, The Silent Wall and The Return of Marvin Palaver. Along with a very rare Rabe short story, “Hard Case Redhead,” the books will appear in a single volume this coming January. The above passage is the opening from The Silent Wall, which Booklist calls “a claustrophobic noir, at times almost unbearably tense.” And it is certainly that. Matty Matheson has the run of an entire town but he is not allowed to leave, held captive by the Mafia for reasons he only thinks he knows.

The Return of Marvin Palaver is a darkly comic, highly complex short book about a swindle, payback and the incredible lengths one man will go to get his revenge against the man who ruined him. Rabe never wrote the same book twice and even with his talent for writing different kinds of crime fiction, the story will leave you breathless with its unique voice and dark sense of humor.

Shortly before his death in 1990, Rabe had sent these manuscripts to friend and author Ed Gorman, who’s had them in his possession until now. We’re ecstatic to be the ones who are finally bringing these books, along with the short story “Hard Case Redhead,” into the world. In “Redhead,” two thieves and their uninvited guest try to wait out the aftermath of a troublesome heist. It’s hard-boiled and noir and shows that Rabe could write just as well at shorter lengths.

Donald E. Westlake named Rabe and Hammett his two major genre influences, Bill Pronzini called him “a kind of fictional surgeon,” and Bill Crider said, “Few writers are Rabe’s equal in the field of the hardboiled gangster story.” If you’ve never read Peter Rabe, there’s no better time to start.

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Rick Ollerman
Associate Editor,
Stark House Press

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