Pulp in the Wild: Shelf Mates Edition

As I sat staring at my bookshelves, taking stock of the books that surround and inspire me, I started to notice some titles that seemed like maybe I should shelve them next to each other. I kept looking, dug deeper into the closet, and began playing a little game with titles. It killed some time when I should have been doing other work, and I suggest you try it with your shelves. Really, it was a lot of fun and it kept me from doing any real work for almost a whole evening.

The first two that caught my eye were these:

The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen and The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey

Hmm, tough choice. Do you go with the Amateurs or the Professionals?


I figured these two should be on a shelf together for sentimental reasons:

The Deputy by Victor Gischler and The Deputy’s Widow by J.B. Kohl


I’m not sure I would want to live on either of these:

Lonely Street by Steve Brewer and Dead Street by Mickey Spillane


This Ross MacDonald classic title can be answered in so many ways. First, the method:

The Way Some People Die by Ross MacDonald and Bullets by Steve Brewer


Of course there’s also timing:

The Way Some People Die by Ross MacDonald and Some Die Young by James Duff

Really, with this title, I had about a dozen ways to go. Some other options from my shelves: Gun Work, The Big Bang, Crimes in Southern Indiana, A Night of Long Knives.


Maybe I should keep these two far away from each other:

Dope by Sara Gran and Dope Thief by Dennis Tafoya


And now I know detective Mike Shayne’s occupation and his prices:

Murder is My Business by Brett Halliday and Murder is Cheap by Anthony Gilbert


Frankly if it has that many rules, I do not consider it a simple plan:


Of course Drive and Boulevard travel together, right? (You can see how this killed my evening.)

Drive by James Sallis and Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz


And in a crime novel, how would this mouthful taste? I know how I’m betting.

Honey in His Mouth by Lester Dent and Dirty Sweet by John McFetridge


Sometimes it seems like my bookshelf is trying to tell me a whole story just from the spines. Share what you’ve got! What’s on your shelves that belongs together?

Confess your shelves’ unholy alliances to: pulpinthewild [at] gmail-dot-com

Eric Beetner is an ex-musician, one time film director, and a working television editor and producer, as well as author (with JB Kohl) of the novels One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two daughters, and one really great dog. His upcoming novella Dig Two Graves will be out later this summer, along with short stories in the anthologies Pulp Ink, D*cked, and Grimm Tales.

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