introduction by James Sallis
includes a previously unpublished play, THE ORDAINMENT OF BROTHER SPRINGER

"No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford."
Elmore Leonard

"This 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

Available only in trade paperback format, this new edition will include a new introduction by James Sallis, and the previously unpublished play version of the novel (THE ORDAINMENT OF BROTHER SPRINGER).

“If 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

This darkly 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.

“Willeford's 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


"To 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."
Sam Springer

Trade Paperback
Price: $17.95

Available December 2003