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Blackmailer (Hard Case Crime #32)

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  252 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
From the Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE Comes a Breathtaking Story of Murder and Mischief...

IT'S THE STORY of a big-game hunter, fisherman, fighter, visitor to Cuba, drunk, and Nobel Prize-winning author, recently deceased of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, whose final unpublished manuscript could fetch a mint...
Mass Market Paperback, 202 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Hard Crime Case (first published 1952)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Aug 31, 2009 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: hardcase, cool-covers
Publisher Dick Sherman gets offered the last book of a dead prize winning author by a mysterious woman and gets drawn into a web of lies and murder. Who sent the thugs to his house looking for the book? Who killed the woman who first offered it to him? Who really owns the book? What does his old flame have to do with it? And does the book even really exist?

I really dug this entry in the Hard Case series. There were a lot of twists and turns and enough red herrings to make figuring out who did it
Feb 08, 2012 Greg rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, hard-case
It's quite possible I got a defective copy of this book from the library. Other reviewers praise Axelrod's talent as a writer, and talk about dirty scenes that would have been scandalous in the 1950's. The copy of the book I had was chock full 'o bad dialogue, the wink-wink nudge nudge of just about every other pulp novel of the time period (although there is an anal-cavity search alluded to, but it's not like there were details about a gaping asshole, or anal prolapse (Best song title / Band na ...more
Lexxi Kitty
I’m not sure if it is somewhat negative of the time period, negative of now, or what exactly, but I’m sure that my comment, which I’ll make in a moment, is negative – just not sure how. That comment: This book has a rather modern feel to it – in that it feels as if it was written in, say, 2007 and set in the 1950s (there are things that link it to the 1950s – mention of films; the somewhat causal mention of how a beautiful actress looks plain and unsexy in Technicolor (a film actress is one of t ...more
Jan 19, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: noir fans, Hard Case Crime buffs, George Axelrod
Shelves: hard-case-crime
George Axelrod is one of my favorite screenwriters: he wrote The Manchurian Candidate, Lord Love A Duck, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, and the screenplay for Breakfast At Tiffany's, so he has a "smidgin" of talent, haha.

Blackmailer is one of the few novels he wrote, a perverse noir novel about double-crossing dames, two-way mirrors and hidden microphones in bedrooms. The sex for its time is pretty up-front, which must have steamed up quite a few college boy glasses. There's a scene in the boo
Benjamin Thomas
Dec 15, 2016 Benjamin Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
Dick Sherman is a partner in a small book publishing house so when he is offered the chance to publish the final work of a literary giant, written just prior to his accidental death, he has to wonder why, especially when he is told he needs to make an immediate decision on whether or not to buy it. And then to add to the mystery, he is approached only hours later by another party with the same offer: to buy the only remaining copy of that same manuscript.

What follows is a nice mix of 1950’s era
Robert Beveridge
George Axelrod, Blackmailer (Hard Case Crime, 1952)

Ah, the dime novel. You may have never read one—the dime novel was going out of style before the majority of people now walking the planet were born—but if you read modern novels, you owe a great deal of your reading experience to the dime novel. Grab yourself a few novels written before World War II—not necessarily rarefied tomes, but the popular novels of the day. Then, right on their heels, preferably the same day, grab a few novels written i
Ian King
This is my second foray into the Hard Case Crime novels after the delightful Joyville by Stephen King. I find this novel by the screenwriter of Breakfast at Tiffany’s to be a good introduction in to what the series of crime novels is about.
There is little in the way of exposition in this book: we enter the action within the first two pages which are filled with intrigue into who Jean Dahl is and how she got her hands on a recently deceased Nobel-winning author’s latest masterpiece. Within a matt
Matthew Patton
Aug 29, 2012 Matthew Patton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although George Axelrod did write the 1962 version of The Manchurian Candidate, he's not generally thought of as a writer of thrillers.

Which is too bad, because this 1952 book is smart, reasonably well-plotted, and funny in a likeable, unforced fashion. The plot concerns a partner in a small New York publishing firm (their best-sellers are crossword puzzles devised by a writer with a hollow leg) who is offered first crack at the last manuscript of a famous, and dead, writer. Twice. In the same m
DJ TweakyClean
Mar 27, 2008 DJ TweakyClean rated it really liked it
Shelves: beach-read
If ya can't see the detail on the cover, it shows a beautiful, buxom beauty, reposing on the floor in a red towel, martini by her hand, along with a gun and a phone. Printed are the title, the author, and the tag line, "She was born bad," along with the mention that this is "by the author of THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH." That alone had me smiling enough to wanna read the book.
I expected something campy, but I didn't also expect such a sharp thriller, which seems a bit
Jun 26, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
This book definitely had its moments, for good and bad. It also kept me guessing about had actually been going on behind the scenes, right up to the very end. The characterization, particularly of the narrator, is a little uneven, as if the author couldn't make a final decision about what sort of a person the main person might be. Is he an irrational drunk? A jealous ex? A valient protector? Whatever, he serves his purpose without ever fully forming.
The one real drawback of this novel is that, n
Jason Seaver
Oct 20, 2009 Jason Seaver rated it really liked it
A good, solid pulp that reads quick - I got through the first 80-90 pages on a 1-hour commute to work - and has a good deal of action without ever feeling like it falls into the trap of having the hero knocked uncoscious whenever the author has writers block. Two fine femme fatales to balance the gangsters. Plus, George Axelrod was best known as a playwright and screenwriter (Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Seven Year Itch, The Manchurian Candidate), and I loved some of his digs at Hollywood in the ...more
Aug 02, 2008 David rated it liked it
Shelves: noirboiled
Blackmailer's pleasantly convoluted plot cannot fully compensate for its forgettable cast of characters, particularly its narrator, publisher Dick Sherman. The great noir writers can make you root for criminals (see, for example, Charles Williams' A Touch of Death or Hell Hath No Fury). But George Axelrod did not make me care one bit what happened to Dick Sherman--who isn't even a criminal. Part of the problem is that Axelrod has a tendency to lapse into screenwriting when he is writing a novel. ...more
John Weagly
Jun 17, 2008 John Weagly rated it it was ok
I feel like I should like George Axelrod. I really do. His writing is quick, witty and, for the most part, clever. But I just can't seem to enjoy him.

I didn't really like the movies "The Seven Year Itch" or "How To Murder Your Wife" or "Paris When It Sizzles" or "Breakfast at Tiffany's." I only made it halfway through "Bus Stop." Even "The Manchurian Candidate," which I liked when I saw it twenty years ago, I wasn't able to finish on a second viewing.

And I didn't really like this book. "Blackmai
Dec 02, 2007 Justinthunderliger rated it it was ok
Aside from some nifty music coming out of the south and the midwest, and mayhaps some cheesy movies, I'm not sure I would've wanted to live in the 1950s. That annoyance may have been why this book bugged me. Still a good story with requisite twists and turns, but almost too many twists and turns. Someone may have told Axelrod "Whenever you can't get your story across through narration, just have your character explain something." And his characters do-- at great length. Still, it was clever enou ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Ash rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-a-copy
“Blackmailer” was a fun and twisty pulp novel I could really grab a hold of, it was the first I have ever read and I can tell these are the types of books I will take to when I have time to spare and a mystery I need to solve. “Blackmailer” started out well and just got better, I found the depth behind the characters a bit bland and saw a similarity between a couple, like the author kind of skimped out in developing them more, the plot was enjoyable and quirky which made for an exciting quick re ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Urbaer rated it liked it
Shelves: noir, hard-case-crime, 2-3
Reads well, but couldn't really work out why our humble crossword book publisher Dick Sherman had to keep his hand in the game. I mean sure, there's a book that might make you slightly richer than you are now, but people are getting killed here...

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't enjoy it, just didn't love it. There were some great scenes but I really just didn't feel it enough to give it more than three stars.
Ian Racey
Good potboiler. There were several different strands to the story, and the hero was a bit too capable emotionally of switching back and forth between them. Clearly written in the 1950s in its male gaziness.

Genuinely fascinating that the author who shot himself with a shotgun was so clearly based on Hemingway in every aspect of his personality and career--and yet this book was published nine years BEFORE Hemingway himself killed himself with a shotgun.
Eric Skillman
Aug 20, 2007 Eric Skillman rated it it was ok
A rare misstep for the fine folks at Hard Case Crime, and somewhat bafflingly titled—there's no mention of anyone blackmailing anyone until about 120 pages in, and even then it's a relatively minor plot point. Still, an enjoyable enough way to spend two subway rides.
Oct 27, 2008 Matthew rated it it was amazing
This fantastic noir gives us a mystery from the vantage point of a publisher swept up in events rather than a PI or thug who naturally lives in that world. Engrossing with amazing characters and shocking reveals.
Feb 26, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it
Light, fast-paced mystery about a publisher, his former flame now a Hollywood star, and the last novel of a celebrated and deceased author. Hard-boiled noir flavor. Axlerod accomplishes what he sets out to do, but don't explect the literary flair of a Chandler or Ross Macdonald.
Feb 03, 2014 Larry rated it liked it
Intriguingly perverse pulp from screenwriter Axelrod who also wrote a surprising number of my favorite movies.
Oct 31, 2013 James rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-noir
Not one of Hard Case Crime's better books. A little predictable and even more melodramatic than usual. I loved Axelrod's Manchurian Candidate. Blackmailer, not so much.
Nov 16, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
Another of the Hard Case Crimes noir pulp fiction classics. Axelrod really wrote a compelling novel here. It's great to have it back, reprinted at last.
Joe Faust
Talky noir fun from Grorge Axelrod, the screenwriter of “Seven Year Itch” and “How to Murder Your Wife”.
Jun 16, 2010 Timo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: timo
Voi miten helposti suomennos voikaan pilata jotain sellaista, mikä ilmeisesti on muiden mielestä ollut hyvää.
No. Tulipa kahlattua. Toisaalta sitä olisi voinut jotain hyvääkin lukea.
Frank Taranto
Sep 22, 2009 Frank Taranto rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another in the Hard Case series of books. Sparse writing and an interesting storyline make this a fun, quick book to read.
Dec 26, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read. A rather odd, but interesting twist ending.
not worth reading !!!
Jul 28, 2012 Jonathan rated it liked it
A quick read. A twisted plot and characters, worth the read.
Daniel Brown
Oct 24, 2016 Daniel Brown rated it liked it
The story was good enough to follow, but there were parts where I got lost between which character was speaking and the details were tough to follow as well.
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