Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book: Blood on the Mink, by Robert Silverberg (1962/2012)

First-rate counterfeit money is flooding the East Coast. The source has been traced to Philadelphia. Somebody’s got to track down the engraver. A prospective Los Angeles partner is pinched off a plane and an undercover agent – nameless until the closing pages – steps into his shoes to cut a swath through the City of Brotherly Love. Who better to stem the tide of fake paper than a fake gangster?

Hard Case Crime strikes again, bringing back into print an early crime novel by SF legend Robert Silverberg. Blood on the Mink is a tight, relentless piece of writing. Silverberg times his plot twists with machine-tooled precision, adding complications in the forms of shapely dames and steely competitors. His protagonist is an authentically tough customer so inured to the hazards of his trade that he possesses only flickers of his own identity, and shows no sympathy for the other players caught in his game no matter how innocent they might be.

Silverberg provides a new afterword detailing Blood’s unusual history, and two of his short stories from the same period round out the package. Nasty fun that’s also a glimpse into the waning days of the pulps.