And my short story ALL ALONE just happens to be set in… 1951 Philadelphia. Get your free copy of ALL ALONE right here. (I’ll talk a bit about that amazing cover art later.)
How bad were things in Philadelphia? On October 29, 1951 — not coincidentally, the day on which the entire story of ALL ALONE takes place — the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an editorial on its front page with this headline:
Ward Boss Rule A Blight on City:
Vote to Smash It!
The editorial described the “scandalous abuses in the city administration, waste of public funds and widespread graft and corruption” plaguing the city, including:
- “embezzlement in the tax office”
- “extortion and bribery in the Fire Marshal’s office”
- “the theft of water with the connivance of Water Bureau employees”
- “extortion … by employees of the plumbing division”
- “a sinister alliance … between ward politicians, members of the police force and racketeers to promote illegal gambling and to give gamblers protection from raids and immunity to prosecution”
It was a dark chapter in the city’s political history. But it makes a great backdrop for a crime fiction story.
I hope you enjoy reading ALL ALONE.
Now, about that incredible cover…
It’s an original oil painting (with some digital text) by Dillon Samuelson, who illustrated the comic book FORTUNE. Click on the final cover (above) for a much larger version, and check out Dillon’s preliminary sketch below.
I asked Dillon for a cover in the style of the old BLACK MASK pulp magazine, which ceased publication in 1951, the same year in which ALL ALONE is set. My idea was a close-up of Oscar Cain’s face (he’s the big bad guy on the cover), but Dillon took it in a different direction which I think fits the tradition of BLACK MASK and other pulps even better. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.