Book Review: Borderline by Lawrence Block


On the border between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, five lives are about to collide – with fatal results. You’ll meet

MARTY – the professional gambler who rolls the dice on a night with…

MEG – the bored divorcee who seeks excitement and finds…

LILY – the beautiful hitchhiker lured into a live sex show by…

CASSIE – the redhead with her own private agenda…

and WEAVER – the madman, the killer with a straight razor in his pocket,  on the run from the police and determined to go down swinging!

This is MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block at his rawest and most visceral, a bloody, bawdy, brutal story of passion and punishment–and of lines that were never meant to be crossed

Originally published in the late 1950s,  republished with this edition in 2014.   Four drifters wind up in Juarez on the Texas/Mexico border and find that some borders, once you cross them, cannot be uncrossed…

Borderline is the story of four drifters whose lives intersect once they reach the border towns of El Paso and Juarez. Marty is a moderately successful gambler, with a preference for poker. Meg is a recent divorcee looking for thrills. Lily is a hitchhiker looking to start a new life who ends up working in a cathouse. Weaver is a cold-blooded serial killer with nothing left to lose.

This has some of Block’s trademarks from his later books – the shortness and tightness of the story for instance as well as his characters being more than a little damaged (and who like their drink). However, there are some things that have not followed through, such as the explicit horniness of many of his characters (excused in one on her high intake of alcohol and weed), as well as the dealing with the gutters of life – the cathouse, the rapes, incest, pornography, voyeurism, orgies, murders etc…as well as a mad killer with a switch-blade! (and all in less than 170 pages!).

If you are looking for a Matthew Scudder or Bernie Rhoddenbarr style book, this is not the book for you. This is a pulp fiction at its dirtiest, and is not for the easily offended!

There are three short stories included in this edition, all very short, but at time of writing, I was not in the mood to read.  Read into that what you will.

At time of writing, I saw the following post from “Past Offences” – a website who does a mean turn in “mystery and thrillers” published in earlier times

Wanted to mention that particular post, as the cover art mentioned reminded me of the cover art for this book – even if a few years earlier!

This post has been scheduled to take part in the #1958book challenge, the signups for which are here


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.