Saturday, February 10, 2007


by Richard S. Prather
Hard Case Crime
252 pages

First published in 1952, this book tells the story of a young, San Francisco, street punk named Tony Romero who wants to make it big in the criminal world. Through an old girl friend turned hooker, Tony is introduced to the local mob that operates all the houses of prostitution throughout the City-by-the-Bay. Like an itch he can’t scratch, Tony obsessed about rising in the ranks, making a lot of money and becoming a big-shot.

Although this book is terribly dated, especially in lieu of the meteoric rise of legal pornography in the later 60s and 70s, it still paints a very brutal and authentic account of modern day flesh-peddlers. Tony’s blind ambition is his Achilles Heel and reading through this tale, I was reminded of all the terrific gangster movies of old, ala SCARFACE and LITTLE CEASAR.

THE PEDDLER still stands up today as a gripping story of crime, immorality and the illusionary good life it promises but seldom delivers.


Anonymous said...

It's very different than Shell Scott, that's for sure.

I really enjoyed it, despite the rather cliched plot because of the style of writing.

Have you read Prather's other non Shell novel Dagger of Flesh?

Ron Fortier said...

No I haven't, Glen. Like yourself,
I'm an old Shell Scott fan and this
book was a reading discovery. Am curious. How old is Dagger of Flesh?
I wonder if Hard Case Crime might be interested in reprinting it as well?

Anonymous said...

It was written in 1962.

I don't think it was one of his best. It's like a Shell Scott novel without the humor.