Saturday, May 1, 2010

#19: Never Die Alone by Donald Goines

King David, arriving in New York after a long stay in California, is murdered on the street; a passerby who tries to help him is entrusted with his diary, which reveals what brought the drug dealer to a bloody end in Donald Goines' Never Die Alone.

I have been trying to find some of Goines' writing for a while, as he is often compared to one of my favorite authors, Chester B. Himes.  But honestly, besides that they were both African-American writers, I didn't see a lot of similarities.  Himes' Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones novels are philosophical, lyrical, sardonic mysteries; whereas Goines writes straight-up cold-blooded street prose.  King David rather casually cheats other dealers and secretly hooks women he wants to control on heroin, among other crimes big and small.

Goines writes in a tough-minded style, and the fact that his life (and death) often mirrored his novels has added interest in his work over the years.  I enjoyed Never Die Alone on its own merits, though it's not for the squeamish.

I snagged this rare treat from

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