I'm currently reading through his most famous creation, the Matt Scudder series, which I'll write a blogpost about soon.
I recommend his writing guide, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, as essential reading for writers, alongside Stephen King's On Writing and Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. (I'm also a big fan of Liz Gilbert's Big Magic).
As well as pragmatic writing advice, Block reveals biographical details and talks about how he got started as a writer. Block started in the erotic pulps of the 1950s, an industry that died decades ago, which is unfortunate as it was a way for him to get his foot in the door and develop as a writer.
His pulp novels were written under pseudonyms like Lesley Evans, Sheldon Lord and Jill Emerson. You Can't Lose was the first story to be published under his own name, in 1957.
Lucky at Cards (first published as The Sex Shuffle in 1964 under the pen name Sheldon Lord) was recently re-released under Block’s own name, and rightly so as it’s a well delivered piece of crime noir.
They say every man has a weakness. They say that for every man there’s a woman somewhere in the world who can make him jump through fiery hoops just by snapping her fingers. They say a man’s lucky if he never meets that woman.
Couldn’t resist that cover. For fans of pulp fiction cover art here’s a couple of links:
And talk about a writer having fun with his craft, over 50 years after putting Jill Emerson to rest, Block recently returned to his roots, writing (as Emerson) Getting Off, a novel of sex and violence, which pretends to be nothing apart from the pulp fiction it is. Titillating stuff!