Man, this guy can write great crime. He creates incredible, original, fascinating characters from the wrong (right) side of the tracks, always caught up in compelling stories with life or death stakes. Sounds like just the shit for us, right?
Luckily, Bill is letting ADR Books publish two of his new novellas in one book: Legacy, and The Creep. This double-helping of trashy pulp is set for release on May 1, 2015.
Check out this nifty excerpt from the beginning of Legacy:
Frank Trask never guessed he had a drinking problem. “I drink; I get drunk; I pass out—no problem,” he’d say when people asked him about the large amount of booze he consumed.
At least that was what he said until the Monday he passed out before he’d had his first drink. He walked out of his West Oakland hotel to buy a package of razor blades, turned right and took four steps before everything went black.
He woke up in Highland, the hospital for indigents, illegals and the uninsured run by Alameda County. He could tell it was the county pill mill because the staff had stenciled its name on everything to keep patients from walking out with it.
The news crawl on the idiot box hanging from the ceiling above his bed told him it was already Thursday. Trask groaned. He was supposed to spend Tuesday at Pete’s, his local bar, celebrating his 67th birthday with the closest thing to a family he had, his three buddies from the old steel mill.
Instead he’d spent his birthday passed out in a no-hoper hospital with a bunch of losers who didn’t know where their next meal – or anything else – was coming from.
He could have worked up a pretty good case of feeling sorry for himself if he’d had half a heat on but ordering a drink in a county hospital was out of the question.
Now THAT, he thought bitterly, is a drinking problem: not being able to get hold of booze when you really need it.
A nurse who looked something like Dorothy, the big sardonic woman on “The Golden Girls,” seemed surprised to find Trask awake.
“Well, welcome back,” she said, reviewing the readings on the machine next to his bed. “You’ve been out quite a while. How do you feel?”
Trask eyed her. He’d never had much use for the medical profession. “I feel like home-made shit,” he said sourly.
“Ah!” she said, giving him a smile. “A Village Fugs fan. Tuli Kupferberg rocks!”
Her name tag said "Kennedy" in white letters on black plastic. Trask thought of asking her whether she was single and would like a husband; he hadn't met a woman who’d heard of the Village Fugs or Kupferberg since 1967.
“What’s wrong with me?” he asked. “Why am I in county?”
She gave him a long look. “I’d rather your doctor talked to you about that, Mr. Trask.”
“So where is he, at the driving range or something?" Trask asked sarcastically. "How many times a month does he drop by?”
She glanced at her watch and smiled. “You’re in luck,” she said. “Her tee-time isn’t until 5 p.m. today, so she should be by in about ten minutes.”
He thought about that. So his doc was a woman; he wondered if she knew about the Village Fugs, too.
The nurse finished recording information from the machine and took his temperature.
“Looks like you’re semi-normal,” she said, eyeing him sternly. “That’s a little like a miracle considering when you came in here, you were at death’s door. Please listen to what the doctor tells you and follow her instructions. You may just live to see your next birthday.”
Trask laughed bitterly. “I wish I had seen the last one,” he said. “It’s a hell of a thing to spend your birthday on your back in a hospital.”
She put his chart back in the rack at the foot of the bed to leave. “I can think of worse ways to spend it,” she said mildly as she started for the door.
“Yeah?” he said. “Like what?”
She turned to give him a smile and said, “You could have spent it on your back in the morgue.”
She left, humming the Fugs' tune "Wet Dream."
William E. Wallace has been a house painter, cook, dishwasher, newspaper and magazine reporter, journalism professor, private investigator and military intelligence specialist. He took his bachelor's in political science at U.C. Berkeley and was an award-winning investigative reporter and special projects writer for the San Francisco Chronicle for 26 years.
His work has been published in All Due Respect (which has nominated it for a 2014 Pushcart Prize), Shotgun Honey, Spinetingler, Out of the Gutter Online, Crime Factory and Dark Corners Pulp.
Wallace’s longer fiction includes three self-published novels: The Jade Bone Jar, Tamer, and The Judas Hunter; and a novella, I Wait to Die. He is currently working on a new novel, Bottom Street.