Archive for the Don Elliott Category

Jungle Street by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Nightstand Books,1960; 1973)

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on October 22, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is the third juvenile delinquent softcore Robert Silverberg published; the other two were in 1959, Streets of Sin as Mark Ryan and Gang Girl as Don Elliott. All three have similar plot lines: about teenage hoodlums moving to a new town and having to join a new gang, and then meeting their doom when their ambitions get too…ambitious.  In Streets of Sin, a young Brooklyn thug moves to Ohio and tries to muscle his way into being gang leader; in Gang Girl, a teenage girl moves to a new part of New York City and joins a gang as a deb, with her eye on the Prez and being Top Girl; in Jungle Street, Danny Flahetry has to prove himself in the new gang area to join the Golden Dragons: he headsup the robbery of a store, smashing a bottle on the head of the old store owner, putting him in a coma, later dying. Another initiation is similar to the initiation in Campus Sex Club: Danny has to get it up three times and have sex with three different girls in one hour.

His sister joins the gang too, and he watches, with an arousal that makes him feel odd, “Sis” strip for everyone, and have sex with the guys in the gang as spectator sport.

There’s a snobby 16-year-old girl in his apartment complex that he has a thing for but she won’t give him the time of say, so he rapes her in the basement laundry. she runs away, into the street, and gets hit by a truck and dies. Now Danny has two deaths on his hands…when he tries for a third,  attempting to kill the cop who is investigating him, things go to shit.

Jungle Street is the better of Silverberg’s juvie gang books; it goes beyond the point of genre literature as a page-turning crime novel, better than some of Hal Ellson’s tomes in the genre.  It also has a bit of Camus-esque existential noir to it, the story of a young criminal without a conscience, yet knows when karma comes to get him, he deserves it for his sins.

The 1973 Reed Nightstand reprint has the same cover art that the 1960 small paperback had.

Hellcats & Honey Girls by Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Lawrence Block, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Sheldon Lord, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks on September 20, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Subterranean Press is soon to publish a 400 page omnibus with three collaborative softcores from the 1960s by Block and Westlake, Hellcats and Honeygirls.

It contains two Sheldon Lords, So Willing and A Girl Called Honey, and one I am not aware of, Sin Hellcat (or A Piece of the Action).

There certainly seems to be a flurry of these old reprints popping up like lillies in the field, with Creeping Hemlock Press doing Block´s Campus Tramp and April North, Hard Case Crime doing two Block lesbian-crime books, Stark House doing two Silverberg-Don Elliotts plus all the others they have out, Ramble House with Ennis Willie, Borgo Press with Victor Banis, and so on…

Will this effect the collector market? I may boost it.  We here are delighted with these reprints and say, more, more…

Expense Account Sinners by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Nightstand #1558, 1961)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on August 1, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Some of Silverberg’s best softsores are set in the corporate workplace and all the sexual shenanigans that happen there, found in Savage Love and Company Girl (Mark Ryan), The Bra Peddlers (John Dexter) Convention Girl and Woman Chaser(Elliott)…

In Expense Account Sinnes, Llyod Burks is Vice President and Public Relations Manager for an electronic firm…but he is more VP of Cal Girls and Good Times.  His job is to entertain VIPs from the government and other companies that are potential clients for electronics parts, meaing millions of dollars of contracts. 

Burks job is to show these buyers a good time, which means getting them call girls and partying it up.  To show the buyers he too is having a good time, Burks often has to sleep with one of the call girls too.

Burks makes 26 grand a year, good money for the early 1960s, a top exec job.  He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Miriam, and their two children.  He likes to see himself as a good husband, nine years of devotion, and he only sins for the good of the company…he never spends the night with a hooker, he always comes home.

Then he finds out one of the owners of the company has been phoning his wife Miraim and trying to get her to have an affair (similar to Company Girl).  This bothers him.  This bos even tells Miriam about the call girls and she doesnt believe him…until Burks secretary, Jean, tells her the same…seems Jean has harbored a secret love for Burks for a while, and when he rejects her and has her transferred, she decides to get revenge…

Here Burks is ready to call it quits with call girls and be a monogumous husband, and all his birds come home to roost…

He is indeed an expense account sinner…aprops title.

Tis is one of the best of the Don Elliotts, a great read about cause and effect and redemption.  The back cover copy, penned by Harlan Ellison in Ellisonesque flamboyant manner, is spot on…

Up the Line by Robert Silverberg (Ballantine, 1969)

Posted in Don Elliott, Robert Silverberg with tags , on July 27, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A time travel novel about incest, really, a few years out from Silverberg’s softcore days.  Like many “New Wave” SF, sex is pretty prominent than the clean SF of the 1940s-50s.

The interesting thing is that the narrator is named Judson Dan Elliott III, a nod to the Don Elliott/Dan Eliot pen name for Cornith.

The Wikipedia synopsis describes this novel best:

The story’s protagonist is Jud Elliott III, a failed Harvard history masters student in 2059. Bored with his job as a law clerk, he takes up a position with the Time Service as a Time Courier. After an introductory course, Jud shunts up and down the time line (“up the line” is travel into the past; “down the line” is forward time travel, but only to “now-time,” Jud’s present of 2059) as a guide for tourists visiting ancient and medieval Byzantium/Constantinople. Jud’s problems include not only stupid tourists, but also greedy and mentally unstable colleagues who attempt to cause various types of havoc with the past. He is forced to break the rules in order to patch things up without drawing the attention of the Time Patrol. When he meets and falls in love with the ‘marvelous transtemporal paradox called Pulcheria’ – his own multi-great grandmother – Jud succumbs to the lure of the past, creates irreparable paradoxes, and faces the inescapable clutches of the Time Patrol.

Silverberg’s narrative includes some cleverly worked out details about the problems of time-travel tourism. For example, the number of tourists who over the years wish to witness the Sermon on the Mount has increased the audience at the event from the likely dozens to hundreds and even thousands. Time-tour guides re-visiting the same event must also take care not to scan their surroundings too closely, lest they make eye contact with themselves leading another tour party.

Silverberg’s interest in the Byzantine era of Roman history is put to use with a vivid description of Constantinople during the reign of Justinian, and the Nika riots of 532.

The era that Jud Elliott originates from, 2059, seems more like 1969 with a bunch of free-loving hip cats, easy pick ups, getting stoned and having sex parties. But SF often reflects the time it is published.

A lot of interesting time paradoxes are indeed presented, mainly the changing of timelines by seriously altering the past, and the Time Cops who set things straight.

Jud falls in love with his great-great-multi-great grandmother, Pulcheria Ducas, a dark-skinned beauty who marries at age 12.  Jud has sex with her when she is 17 — seems her husband cannot give her children (and suggests that Jud may seed his own lineage down the line).

Things go awry when a pedophile gets loose in time.  A man in Jud’s tourist group to Byzantium, who has a penchant for little girls, gets his time travel belt device free for his own use and takes off; seems he winds up seducing and marrying Pulcheria at age 11-12, which makes Jud a non-person up the line in 2059, since his lineage never occurred. It is up to Jud and his fellow time couriers to fix this before the Time Cops find out.

In the process, Jud somehow duplicates himself…one of the paradoxes presented is that the couriers must avoid running into and interacting with themselves while “shunting” about.

Seems in 1990-91 there were a series of five books by other writers set in this universe, called “Robert Silverberg’s Time Tours.”

Word has it that Up the Line will soon be republished in an omnibus edition with Project Pendulum and Hawksbill Station, a book to be called 3 x Time.

Hawksbill Station is about political dissidents and criminals sentenced to live in the pre-Cambrian era, and Project Pendulum is a YA-marketed short novel about the first time travelers, a set of twins, and all the time paradoxes they encounter.

Roadhouse Girl by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Midnight Reader #412, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on July 26, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The first two Corniths I purchased in 2004 were from Don Elliott/Rbt Silverberg: Roadhouse Girl and Expense Account Sinners. I had yet to read these two until now.

22-year-old Roaslie Lyons in Roadhouse Girl is probably the most dull, pathetic-minded Don Elliott heroine I’ve come across.  Usually even an Elliott call girl or stripper has redeeming qualities, but Rosalie is a simpleton who lets things happen to her and is shocked when she discovers she likes rough sex.  In a way, she is Elliott’s Justine, a girl caught up in a sexual world she doesn’tr understand but still enjoys.  And like de Sade, much of the sex that happens to Rosalie is either rape or S/M.

Rosalie takes a job at a Grove City roadside hashhouse, where she makes decent tips, and has free room and board. Along somes the owner’s son, Johnny, a tough guy who has his way with all waitresses. He’s waiting in her room and rapes her…and she responds to the rape with pleasure, which confuses the girl.

His knee was working its way between her legs. She could feel the rough fabric of his trousers grinding into the soft skin of her thighs. Her ankles throbbed with pain. She thought they were going to snap.

Suddenly he brought his right hand around and tapped her on the chin. Her lower lip and upper teeth came together. She winced in pain, and tasted blood trickling out of the little cut, and in her surprise and fear she loosened the grip of her ankles, and the next moment she had her legs apart… (p. 13-14)

The same night of the rape, she accepts a date with the local wise guy, Carlton, who likes to use whips on his female partners…she responds to the whips, and likes the pain.

Carlton offers her a place to live with hm and before she leaves the roadhouse, Johnny tries to rape her again but she knees him in the nuts. Johnny vows revenge.

She soon discovers that Carlton is quite the sadist. To get even with an ex-girlfriend who left him for a Hollywood mogul, Calrton forces the ex- to perform lesbian sex on Rosalie.  Carlton also ups the ante with S/M and the toys…

But Rosalie likes living in comfort with money. One day, driving one of Carlton’s sports cars in town, she is jacked by Johnny who forces her to drive out to the country where he rapes her.

And so Carlton seeks out Johnny, and Johnny seeks out Rosalie again for revenge, and things get messy…

Another Manhunt-style story, and not too bad of a read. I’d give it a B-minus for treading similar ground as in Stripper!

The 1973 Reed Nightstand edition was called No Pleasure Too Painful and is apparently hard to find…


Campus Hellcat – David Challon aka Robert Silverberg (Bedside Books #973, 1960)

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on June 21, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This is the last of the David Challon books Robert Silverberg did for Bedstand. The others:

Suburban Sin Club (#803, also The Wife Traders by Loren Beauchamp)

Campus Love Club (#808, also Campus Sex Club by Loren Beauchamp, and plagarized as Slaves to Sin by S.N. Burton).

French Sin Port (#820, also Rouge of the Riviera by Don Elliott)

Thirst for Love (#802, also Wayward Wife by Loren Beauchamp and Free Sample by Loren Beauchamp)

Suburban Affair (#961), unknown if ever reprinted/pirated.

Like Illicit Affair by Mark Ryan, this is a short story collection, mainly culled from men’s digests and pulps like Trapped and Manhunt, etc.

The cover states “eleven short novels and stories.”  There are no short novels in the 186 page book.  The title story is a 3,000-word tale about men dating the campus slut; most of the other stories have a crime element with twist endings, but they’re not as good as the stories in Illicit Affair. Many of the male protagonists have to deal with the aftermath of a mistress — in “Hit and Run,” a man married to a rich woman (with shades of Loren Beauchamp’s Love Nest) kills his pregnant mistress, but he’s being set up by his wife and their financial adviser; “One Girl Too Many” and “Clinging Vine” deal with females scorned by cheating men; “Spoiled Brat” is about what a rich girl with a sports car does to her rapists.  “Jailbait” is about a con sex game, later expanded in Don Elliott’s Flesh Pawns.


One must remember that Silverberg was spinning these formula yarns for a quick buck, much like all the books.

It’s not that bad a read, but if you’re looking for early Silverberg non-SF short stories, I would recommend Illicit Affair.

Registered Nympho – Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Companion Book #524, 1967)

Posted in Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, Midbook Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on June 11, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A great cover but a disappointment in that this is not an original Elliott but a slightly revised version of Loren Beauchamp’s Nurse Carolyn.  Character names are slightly or completely changed — Carolyn White becomes Evelyn White, her doctor boyfriend Dick Evans becomes Joe Bevans, and instead of calling her “honey” in 1960, he calls her “baby” in 1967.  The dirty old rich man she works for, Cornelius Baird becomes Conrad Folsom.

There are other slight line changes, and excess chapter fodder is cut now and then, but really the same book.  The question is: why?

Silverberg did revise some of his Bedstand books from 1959-60 for Midwood (e.g., Thirst for Love becoming Wayward Wife), books he didn’t get paid for, and later, when William Hamling bought Nightstand, those former Challon/Ryan books were reprinted as Don Elliott books.  By 1967, Midwood had to sell off some of its old stock for a debt, so maybe the rights on Nurse Carolyn went to Cornith…Companion Books was yet another one of many Hamling imprints when his company was based in San Diego.

Who knows.

Who cares.

Registered Nympho (although the character is hardly a “nympho”)  is a collectible item, but not a new read, not here at least. If you have not read Nurse Carolyn, this this will be a fun new read.

Mistress of Sin – Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Nightstand Book #1537, 1962)

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on June 6, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Like Lust Queen, Elliott/Silverberg takes on the shallow world of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, filmmaking and the pursuit of stardom, and what women will do (or some women) to obtain fame.

Working now and then in Tinsel Town, this one hit some familiar notes with me.

Kevin Lyle, 38, is “story editor” for movie mogul Leo Naumann, an Erich von Stromm-like European filmmaker now Hollywood blockbuster maker.  Lyle used to be a freelance scriptwriter, but makes better money finding properties for his boss — he reads tons of books, recommends which ones to option, and wields large sums of money to get the rights…in this case $300,000 for a novel on Africa, which was three million bucks in 1962 money.

The novel opens with Lyle driving around and giving a woman a ride at Wilshire and La Cienega Boulevards (near the tar pits).  The woman is 22-year-old Lorayne Winnant, aspiring actress, working as a stripper for the moment.  Lyle is in the middle of a heated divorce and custody b battle for his two kids, his lawyer has told him to keep his nose clean, but he simply cannot resist getting Loryane into bed and doing what men and women do, especially after he sees her strip act and gets in a fist fight with a drunk ex-boyfriend of hers.

She has a penchant for the rough stuff:

Pain and sex seemed all mixed up in this girl’s mind.  She was savage. She enjoyed inflicting hurt during the act of love, and she enjoyed being hurt.  For her sex wasn’t simply a stately gavotte with prescribed rules, as it was for a lot of women. It was a knock-down drag-out orgiastic revel, with no holds barred. (p. 69)

Lyle thinks shes the kind of woman his boss will like. He already has a young actress, Audrey, living with him, whom he has promised a great part in his next movie set in Africa. But once he gets a gander of Lorayne, and gets her in bed, he dumps Audrey, asks Lorayne to move in, and offers her the part.  Lorayne jumps for it, grateful to Lyle for the connection.

Audrey, however, does not take this well, and shows up at the hotel room Lyle is staying, drunk, accusing him of ruining her life.  She then jumps off the balcony of his fifth-story room, landing with a splat.

This is not good for Lyle — not for his job, not for his divorce and custody battle.

People seem to commit a lot of suicides in Silverberg’s novels, both erotica and science-fiction (see Thorns).

Silverberg’s send up of how books are optioned and made into movies is right on the, uh, money:

“That was New York,” he [Naumann] said. “The publishers. They’ve just clinched a paperback reprint deal for the book, and they wanted to know when the movie was going to be released. I told them next March at the latest and they blew their stacks.  The paperback people want to put their edition out the day the movie opens. And the hardcover boys figured they had at least fifteen months to peddle their edition first.  Now they’ve only got six or seven.” Naumann spat. “The hell with them. Money-grubbing bastards. They’re getting half the author’s share of the movie money, and half the paperback money, and they’re worried what’s going to happen to their lousy trade edition yet.” (p.98)

A note to any new authors out there: if you give the publisher dramatic (film, tv, net) rights, they will take 50% of the money and won’t pay up on your 50% until the next bi-annual royalty/sales statement, so don’t think you’re going to get a fast paycheck from any film option deal — and you’re fucked if, say, you have a $20,000 advance, and your half of of an option is, say, $15,000, you won’t see a dime because it will be absorbed into paying off your advance.  This is why I never give publishers film rights, unless they are willing to pay for it.

Back to Lyle — his life falls apart more.  When Lorayne finds out about Aundrey’s suicide, she has second thoughts about being Naumann’s mistress, afraid he will dump her the same sometime.  Besides, she is now in love with Lyle, and she moves in with him.  This causes Lyle to lose his well-paying Hollywood job. Can he start over?  Will Naumann blackist him? Can he afford Lorayne?

A damn fine little novel, high recommended.

Orgy Maid – Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Pillar Book #838)

Posted in Don Elliott, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Pillar Books (like Ember, Idle Hour, Sundown, Late Library, Leisure, Midnight, et al) was one of William Hamling’s many imprints for Cornith/Greenleaf.  Like the editorially picked titles, and sometimes the pen names, the writers had no idea what imprint the monthly manuscripts would end up with, and what it would be called.

It’s not clear if certain imprints were meant to lean toward the theme and setting of the books — I have noticed that Midnight Books tend to be more crime-noirish, and Embers a little more risque than your average Nightstand.

Pillar often features the slightly altered pen names like Andrew Shole, Dan Eliot, and John Baxter.

Orgy Maid is a bit different than the typical Silverberg Don Elliotts — it’s the first backwoods hillbilly-type tale he’s tackled (usually Silverberg’s are about cheating husbands and wives in the city, crime, the sex lives of urban professionals, young women who find their wanton way to sinful lives as strippers or call girls).  The heroine of the little novel is 12-year-old Lonnie, who becomes a bride and a sex toy for the rich.  The prose style is done in mock southern-porch yarn spinning, with this opening that should b a classic in sleaze fiction:

In the hill country of Tennessee, where Lonnie Garth was born, they have a quaint little folk saying about virginity. “A virgin,” they say, “is a five-year-old girl who can outrun her daddy and her brothers.”

Lonnie was a fast runner. That’s how come her virginity lasted all the way to the age of twelve. (p. 5)

She lives in Holston Mill, population 1,407, and the Holston Family runs all the motels and shops and industry, so all the residents work and rely on the powerful family, who treat them the way nobles treated their serfs: as property.  If a Holston male wanted any girl or woman in town, married, virgin, or wanton, these females have to submit to them or else become ostracized or even killed.

This is why Lonnie’s father has not touched her and his forbade his sons from having sex with her — she’s gorgeous, and he has wanted to keep her a virgin in hopes that one of the Holston boys will take a liking to her and maybe marry her, or keep her as a concubine.

In a town where most girls lose their virginity by age eight from either their fathers, brothers, or a Holston, Lonnie is definitely an oddity.  She feels like she’s missing something since all the girls in her school have been sexually active for several years.

One day, she does catch the eye of a Holston — Tim Holston, the only son sent off to college and who is refined intellectually.  He’s back home on vacation and happens upon young Lonnie swimming naked in the pond.  Mesmerized by her nymphet-allure, he takes her virginity and falls in love with her.

Her father is very pleased she gave herself to a Holston, even more pleased when Tim says he wants to marry her — this means the poor family will have an inn with the Holston Monarchy.

Lonnie and Tim have a two week honeymoon; since she looks seventeen-eighteen rather than twelve, heads don’t turn. Tim’s father had a judge in his pocket who signed a decree that Lonnie could marry as a pre-teen.  They move into the Holston mansion, but soon Lonnie is left alone there when Tim goes back to college. She has a tutor during the day, to finish out her own education, but for the most part her days are idle.  She notices that Tim’s brothers and father sexually abuse the female domestics, like the maid and cook, and these women give in, because they don’t want to lose their good-paying jobs.

It doesn’t take long before the Holston males set their eyes on Tim’s defenseless twelve-year-old bride, alone in her room.  First one brother rapes her, then two of them rape her at the same time — Silverberg makes creative use of evasive words to describe a two-man-one-girl double penetration, and what it feels like for her.

Despite the rape, Lonnie’s body “betrays” her, and she finds she enjoys the forced sex; and wonders if there is something wrong with her for that.

If that isn’t enough, Ted’s sister, her own sister-in-law, makes her lesbian inclinations known to Lonnie.  Lonnie has already been forced to put on a lesbian with one of the maids (hence the title?) and found that she liked the twilight sex, so she gives herself freely to her sister-in-law.

And then one night her father-in-law pays her a visit, so now Lonnie is the sex toy of just about everyone in the house.

To escape the shame and humility, Lonnie hits the bourbon hard, slugging down entire bottles in an hour and passing out.

There is tragedy — at twelve and three months, Lonnie is a bride; at twelve and sex months, she becomes a widow and sexual tigress.

It’s a darn good southern read, and gets an A-minus.

Sex Bum by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Midnight Reader #489, 1963)

Posted in crime noir, Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, noir fiction, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on May 13, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks


Rumor has it this one may soon be reprinted.  It’s a Syndicate crime novel in the Manhunt or Trapped style. It could have been a Gold Medal.

Johnny Price is 22 and a big-strapping guy working for fifty bucks a week and tips as a grocery delivery guy in Reesport, NY, an upper state small town in the Orrie Hitt tradition, where girls dream of being high class call girls in Manhattan and boys dream of being made men.

Johnny gets his chance to prove himself to the two local mob hoods when he stumbles upon a kill of a rival in a pool hall and helps the local wise guys, Lurton and Kloss, take down their target and two of his henchmen.  He’s offered a job to work with them, mainly as muscle, and collecting weekly “protection” from local businessmen.  He even brings a girl he met, Elle, who wants to be a Syndicate hooker, into the fray, proving his worth.  Beyond his base pay of ninety a week (ah, again, 1960s money!) he learns how to “earn” — collecting the extra $5-to-10 “tips” on his collections, or that “extra protection.”

Johnny Price has plans, though.  He doesn’t want to be a hired hand all his life, or even a year; within six months, he schemes to betray his bosses and take them down, and take their place.  He makes good with one of the New York City bosses, Rizzo, and lets Rizzo know that Lurton and Kloss are skimming off the top of their monthly payments.

There’s plenty of sex, with the call girls, such as this subtle scene hinting at anal sex:

“I showed you a trick that day. Want me to show you another one?”

“I’m game,” he said.

She wriggled up against him.  The firm cushion of her buttocks pressed against his thighs. She thrust one hand around behind, seized him, guided him.

Johnny frowned. “There?”

“Sure,” she said. “I like it there just like the regular way.”

“Can you feel anything there?”

“If I couldn’t, I wouldn’t do it. I feel different things there.”

“But doesn’t it hurt?”

“Only the first couple of times. Not anymore. I’ve been a busy little girl.”

“I bet you have,” Johnny said. (p. 121-2)

He falls for Rizzo’s main whore, too, Marie, too high class for him, and a wrong move, just as betraying the men who gave him a job was a dumb move.  Johnny Price is not the smart thug he’d like to believe he is.  “You gotta be careful when you play around with razor blades.  You can get cut” (p. 167) is advice he doesn’t heed.

Like all of Silverberg’s sleaze paperbacks — all of his work, in fact, i whatever genre or form — this is compulsively readable, but not the best of the Elliotts.  It’s predictable, Goodfellas way before the movie, where betrayal and loyalty in the mob is a fine line.