Challenge the Widow-Maker and Other Stories of People in Peril (... Cover Art

Challenge The Widow-Maker And Other Stories Of People In Peril (Hardcover)

By: Clark Howard (Author)



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Review

Penzler Pick, September 2000: A collection of Clark Howard''s tales in a book of his own was long overdue. Having seen his first story published in the classic men''s magazine, Stag, in 1956, Howard has since become a classic--and classy--crime-writing author. Frequently anthologized, Howard has also regularly been honored by the Mystery Writers of America (with seven nominations and one Edgar) and by the Private Eye Writers of America. As a frequent contributor to Ellery Queen''s Mystery Magazine, he recently set a record when he scored his fifth annual Readers Award from that influential magazine.

The pleasure of discovering his varied scenes of dramatic adventure, with their unexpected situations and all-too-human protagonists, awaits a whole new audience with the publication of this excellent collection. Whether in a back-country village on the island of Maui, where the title story is set among surfers and pearl smugglers, or in the strife-weary precincts of Belfast, Ireland, where "The Dublin Eye" plunges us into a chilling episode of revenge, Howard seems completely at home. But wherever his heroes are encountered, they are always recognized as moral men, often propelled by circumstances into stretching, even breaking, the rules for the sake of righting injustices.

Trouble is the milieu that Howard''s protagonists share, and each exhibits a certain sort of masculinity that might be regarded by some as old-fashioned. The great romantic-heroic tough guys of 1940s films are this author''s paradigms, and one of his most popular stories, "The Dakar Run," even pays an affectionate homage to Casablanca and Humphrey Bogart, as well as to John Garfield and the boxing-themed noir staple, Body and Soul.

Once again, the wittily named small press, Crippen & Landru (after two of the 19th century''s most notorious mass murderers), is to be congratulated for its intelligent publishing program spotlighting the mystery short story. --Otto Penzler

Short Desription

Challenge the Widow-Maker and Other Stories of People in Peril is about ordinary people who have not always done well with what life has dealt them — ex-cons, hardluck boxers, aging surfers, Puerto Rican dirt farmers, lonely old men living in tenements. When crises enter their lives, they have to find the strength, the humanity, to meet the challenges. In the moving "Custer''s Ghost," one of the last survivors finds closure half a century after Little Bighorn. In "The Dakar Run," a former race car driver must find the integrity to stand up both to gangsters and to the grueling desert race in northern Africa. In "Animals," an old man who has lost his late wife''s cat joins a street punk to free tortured animals. In these and nine other tough but compassionate investigations into the human condition, Clark Howard demonstrates why he is one of the finest storytellers of this generation.



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