Born in Detroit, raised in Pasadena, but now living in London, Woody Haut is an acknowledged master of American noir, theory and practice. He’s the author of Pulp Culture: Hardboiled Fiction and the Cold War, Neon Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction, and Heartbreak and Vine: the Fate of Hardboiled Writers in Hollywood. His blog covers noir fiction and film, music, poetry, and politics.

 

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Cry for a Nickel, Die for a Dime

By Woody Haut


 

It’s 1960, the Democrats are about to nominate JFK, L.A. gangster Micky Cohen rules the roost—and Abe Howard, an unscrupulous freelance news photographer, snaps photos of murdered jazz musician Jimmy Estes. The photos become the hottest item in Los Angeles when they attract Cohen’s attention. Abe’s world is turned upside-down when he encounters Kim, an A&R woman and Lana Turner lookalike ready to steal her way up the corporate ladder.

Though it's news to a rabid coterie of 78 RPM blues record collectors, the modern era is rocketing ahead, rock and roll is about to go big time, and it’s getting hard to distinguish the corporations from the criminals. So put on a platter that matters, listen up—and be ready to dodge the bullets.