by James Sallis
includes a previously unpublished play, THE ORDAINMENT OF
one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford."
is a Gila monster of a novel . . . its teeth marks will still
be on your hand after you finish it." Barry Gifford,
READ 'EM AND WEEP
in trade paperback format, this new edition will include a
new introduction by James Sallis, and the previously unpublished
play version of the novel (THE ORDAINMENT OF BROTHER SPRINGER).
Cockfighter, as many believe, is Willeford’s purest
existentialist novel, one to be taken at the level of Horace
McCoy’s They Shoot Horses Don’t They and Albert
Camus’ L’Etranger—and this is arguably the
case—then Black Mass is a close second, its double:
another monstre délicat, its semblable, its frère.
For the existentialist, consciousness, the very core of our
being, is an emptiness waiting to be filled by arbitrary choices.
We must practice faith in the absence of belief. We become
ourselves through our actions. James Sallis
humorous novel by one of the great crime writers of the 20th
Century, Charles Willeford, was called "his masterpiece"
by The Washington Post. It is a story of Sam Springer, a drifter
novelist who meets the retiring Abbot of the Church of God's
Flock, and is ordained off to serve as a pastor of an all-Black
church in Jacksonville, Florida. Springer quickly becomes
entangled with the city's growing civil rights movement and
the deacon's earthy young wife, Merita.
experience of his life led him to a certain attitude toward
the world and his place in it, and this attitude, ironic without
meanness, comic but deeply caring, informed every book he
ever wrote, from his two volumes of autobiography through
all the unnoticed novels. Donald Westlake
achieve success in the United States a man must be able to
do two things well. First, he must be able to think and speak
on his feet with conviction, and secondly, he must be able
to write a good letter."