By William Hjortsberg

Hjortsberg’s Edgar Award–nominated vintage concerning the hunt for a vanished singer that leads a detective into the depths of the occult

Big-band frontman Johnny favourite was once making a song for the troops whilst a Luftwaffe fighter squadron strafed the bandstand, killing the gang and leaving the singer close to loss of life. the military again him to a personal health center in upstate manhattan, leaving him to stay out his days as a vegetable whereas the realm forgot him. yet Louis Cyphre by no means forgets.

Cyphre had a freelance with the singer, stipulating fee upon Johnny’s death—payment that would be denied so long as Johnny clings to lifestyles. while Cyphre hires deepest investigator Harry Angel to discover Johnny on the sanatorium, Angel learns that the singer has disappeared. it truly is no usual missing-person’s case. every body he questions dies quickly after, as Angel’s research ensnares him in a extraordinary tangle of black magic, carnival freaks, and grisly voodoo. whilst the sinister Louis Cyphre starts off showing in Angel’s desires, the detective fears for his existence, his sanity, and his soul.

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“Terrific . . . exceptional . . . I’ve by no means learn something remotely like it.” —Stephen King

“A chilling homage to the hard-boiled detective novel of the Raymond Chandler school.” —The ny Times

“A close to ideal publication . . . no longer in view that Psycho replaced the washing conduct of millions has a novelist so thoroughly grew to become conceptions within out.” —Los Angeles Times

Originally released in 1978, Hjortsberg's debut secret used to be the foundation for the movie Angel Heart.

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Alter the ingredients to a beadle and a workhouse – the scenes may be the same, but the whole flavour of vice will be lost, and the boy will turn out a perfect pattern. 28 As already noted, one of the most concerted attacks in this phase of the Newgate controversy came from Thackeray, whose Catherine: A Story was written specifically – according to the advertisement that accompanied volume publication – ‘to counteract the injurious influence of some popular fictions of that day, which made heroes of highwaymen and burglars, and created a false sympathy for the vicious and criminal’.

35 These ranged from notorious murder trials such as 32 The Newgate novel and sensation fiction, 1830–1868 the Road Murder (1860), in which the sixteen-year-old Constance Kent was acquitted of the bloody murder of her four-year-old brother, and the 1857 trial of Madeline Smith, who was accused of killing her lover by putting arsenic in his cocoa, to the Yelverton bigamy-divorce trial which drew attention to marital irregularities and the chaotic state of the marriage laws. The changing state of upper and middle-class marriage was also highlighted by the reporting of the proceedings of the new Divorce Court, created after the passing of the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857.

The essential characteristic of this age and land is publicity. There exists a press which bares at once to the universal eye every example of guilt that comes before a legal tribunal. In these very newspapers which would forbid a romance writer to depict crime with all that he can suggest to demonstrate its causes, portray its hideousness, insist on its inevitable doom . . the meanest secrets of the prison-house are explored. 34 In the 1860s the sensation novel and the sensation debate were also closely intertwined with developments in the newspaper press.

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