Episode 9 Dan Marlowe - Neglected Gold Medal Crime Novelist

Dan J. Marlowe is a master crime novelist who deserves to be part of the pantheon of crime writers like Jim Thompson, Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake), and Patricia Highsmith. Why has he been forgotten? Probably because he wrote his major crime novels for a paperback publisher (Gold Medal) and never had a hardback publisher. Also, there's never been a major motion picture or tv series made from one of his books. It's primarily because readers don't know about him and there have been few reprints of his best novels. 

Episode 9 of the Paperback Show introduces listeners (and hopefully readers) to this compelling novelist whose life reflected his novels (minus the killing). We offer a short biography of Dan J. Marlowe and then a wide-ranging discussion of his masterpiece, The Name of the Game is Death (date) with crime novelist, graphic novelist, and generally cool guy, Duane Swierczynski. Thank you, Duane, for sharing your time with me (and our podcast audience). 

Author Dan J. Marlowe


Biographical and critical information for this podcast came from an outstanding book on Dan J. Marlowe: Gunshots in Another Room: The Forgotten Life of Dan J. Marlowe (2012) by Charles Kelly. This is an excellent book that will leave you with a feeling of having lived Marlowe's life. Mr. Kelly (a veteran news reporter) is an authority on Marlowe and a very good writer himself. There's a shorter version of the biography archived at Allan Guthrie's website (he's a very good mystery writer). It's called, "Mystery Man: Dan J. Marlowe"

Jon Warren's The Official Price Guide to Paperbacks was also a good source for tracking Marlowe's novels and their publishers. And Josef Hoffman's article, PLAYING WITH FIRE: DAN J. MARLOWE, AL NUSSBAUM, AND EARL DRAKE, was indispensable in figuring out the connection between Nussbaum and Marlowe. 


Fortunately, collecting and reading Marlowe is not that difficult or expensive. Black Lizard paperbacks reprinted several Marlowe novels including The Name of the Game is Death. These are fairly easy to find and is probably the best place to start. Gold Medal printed a lot of copies of his books, so they are not rare. The Gold Medal editions of Marlowe (the originals) can be pricey. Expect to pay $20-$70 for most of them depending upon the condition. I've found several of his paperbacks in "good" condition at etsy.com and occasionally there are lots of Marlowe's Gold Medals at ebay.com for reasonable prices. You just have to be patient and do some comparison shopping. Look out for scalpers though. 

If you just want to read Dan J. Marlowe and believe me he can become addictive, Simon & Schuster has a page dedicated to their ebook reprints which are ridiculously cheap. This may be the way to go to get your feet wet so to speak. 


I discovered Duane's hard-boiled crime novel Wheel Man when it came out in 2005 and have been reading his excellent novels ever since. He lives in Los Angeles and is a frequent shopper at the Iliad Bookshop where he overhead me recommending Wheel Man to a customer. I'm delighted that he agreed to join me on the Dan J. Marlowe podcast. Thank you very much, Duane. 

You can get a link to all of Duane's links at https://linktr.ee/swierczy. He also has a newsletter which you can find at https://gleefulmayhem.substack.com and a cool twitter pageThe main Wikipedia page for Duane has a list of his works which include non-fiction (This Here’s A Stick-Up: The Big Bad Book Of American Bank Robbery sounds wonderful) and all of his novels and a ton of his work in comics/graphic novels.