No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
James M. Cain was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1892. Having served in the US Army in World War 1, he became a journalist in Baltimore and New York in the 1920s. He later worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Cain died in 1977.
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose The Postman Always Rings Twice as one of his favourite short novels.. "This is a hard-boiled crime novel – adult in its themes and it characters – but one so fiercely compressed in its narrative drive, so searing in its pace, so true in its emotions, that anyone beginning it will race feverishly to the fatal conclusion. Cain’s writing is a masterclass on concision and power. The edition I read had only 90 pages, but it it’s like the matter at the heart of a black hole, so dense, it’s said, that if you brought a teaspoon of it back to earth, it would sink straight to the centre of the planet."
Frank Chambers ist ein Rumtreiber, und er ist abgebrannt. Eines Tages landet er vor einem Diner irgendwo imkalifornischen Nichts, betrieben vom Griechen Papadakis und seiner schnen jungen Frau Cora. Ihren Ehemann kann Cora nicht leiden, den Rumtreiber Frank dafr umso mehr. Ein Problem, das nur eine Lsung kennt, eine Lsung, die viele Probleme nach sich zieht. Solche, fr die es keine Lsung gibt. Schwrzer als bei James M. Cain war die Welt selten. In diesem No Man's Land regieren die Skrupellosigkeit, die Gier nach Sex und nach Geld. Jeder ist sich selbst am nchsten. Erlsung gibt es keine. Unerbittlich und in unvergleichlich pointierter Prosa treibt Cain seine Antihelden ins Verderben.
Seventeen hardboiled crime stories from the poet of the tabloid murder and author of Double Indemnity (Edmund Wilson). They call him Lucky-but he has never had a lucky day in his life. A nineteen-year-old hobo just starting to ride the rails, he is hiding in the coal car when the railroad detective comes through. They get into a scuffle, and Lucky's hand finds a railroad spike. Before he knows it, he has smashed the investigator's head and shoved him out of the car. If he hurries, if he's lucky, he will get back to Los Angeles in time to establish an alibi, burn his clothes, and avoid the electric chair. But as Lucky will discover, the deadliest threat is lurking within his own mind. Dead Man is just one of the outstanding stories included in this volume. The author of some of the most hard-boiled prose ever written, James M. Cain understood fear in all its forms-and knew better than anyone the terror of a killer on the run.
Seventeen gripping tales from one of the toughest authors in the history of crime fictionThey call him Lucky - but he has never had a lucky day in his life. A nineteen-year-old hobo just starting to ride the rails, he is hiding in the coal car when the railroad detective comes through. They get into a scuffle, and Lucky's hand finds a railroad spike. Before he knows it, he has smashed the investigator's head. If he hurries, he will get back to Los Angeles in time to establish an alibi. But as Lucky will discover, the deadliest threat is lurking within his own mind. 'Dead Man' is just one of the outstanding stories included in this volume. The author of some of the most hard-boiled prose ever written, James M. Cain knew better than anyone the terror of a killer on the run.
A Bad Woman (originally titled Sinful Woman) is James M. Cain's little gem of a hard-boiled novel, set in the post-War 1940s of Reno, Nevada. Film star Sylvia Shoreham is wowing the dusty gambling town and is hell-bent on divorcing her conniving user of a husband, a foreigner with a slick tongue and a heavy accent. But the husband has other ideas, threatening to marry Miss Shoreham's neurotic sister if she divorces him. Hollywood bigwigs want to keep the movie star making the pictures that make them millions. And then there's a gun in the room and a dead husband. Did Sylvia do it? Or was it an elaborate suicide? Everyone has a beef and a motive and an angle and it's largely up to Sheriff Parker Lucas, the laconic lawman who keeps order in his town, to unspool the tangled web. Told in James M. Cain's typically taut and terse prose with deadpan dialogue and bruising plot twists, it's a novel by the noir master that is often over-looked in favor of the better known The Postman Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, but offers its own tantalizing tale. This book, like all Chalk Line Books titles, contains 10 illustrations, these by Martha Kelly. A Bad Woman is another fine addition to Chalk Line Books' growing roster of great vintage crime fiction.
One man sells his soul to save an innocent -- who turns out not to be so innocent after all. Graham meets Sonya outside of his real estate office. She is sixteen, beautiful, and showing just the right amount of leg. He's ruminating on those legs when she drops the bombshell -- she's there because Graham's brother, Burl, raped her, leaving her frightened, pregnant, and very much alone. She was spending the night with a friend when two boys and a case of beer turned a quiet evening into a hellish orgy. All she wants is the $1,111 it will cost to spend the next few months in a convalescent home, then give the baby up for adoption, but Burl won't give her the money. Sonya's vengeful father, meanwhile, wants far more money from Burl, to pay for harming his daughter. Graham offers Sonya a better choice: He'll marry her so that she can get a legal abortion. This moment of twisted generosity will change his life forever -- but he has no idea that, as he asks for Sonya's hand, he is signing away his soul.
While searching for her father, a runaway stumbles into a deadly mess . At thirteen, Mandy was too old for spanking when her stepfather first took her over his knee. She's didn't mind the pain, but hated the look in his eye and his lingering hand. By the time she's fifteen, this young spitfire can't take any more of his unwanted groping. With seventy-four bucks in her pocket, she packs her things and buys the bus ticket that will change her life. She meets Rick at the bus stop -- a handsome young thug who's a few days removed from his last bath. He's charming and sympathetic, so she buys him a ticket and, on the ride to Baltimore, tells him that she's going to find her real father. But wouldn't it be better, Rick suggests, to greet Daddy in style? Of course, a mink coat would cost a little money, but Rick knows just where to get it. His plan is daring, foolish, and highly dangerous. What teenage runaway could resist?
A hijacker and his hostage escape to a very strange, very dangerous farm. Since his father died, every Saturday night has been the same for Dave and his mother. She starts by talking -- aimless, weird fantasies about get-rich-quick schemes that never come to anything -- but finally she goes silent, and that's when Dave becomes afraid. Mom has a way of getting very close that is repellent and appealing all at once, and he's terrified of where it might lead. One Saturday, a noise outside breaks the silence. A hijacker has escaped his stolen plane with a parachute, a hundred thousand dollars in cash, and one very frightened stewardess. The thief thinks he's gotten away with it, but he doesn't know what Dave's mother will do for an easy payday -- and a chance to make her son a happy man.
Out of jail and back at work, a boxing trainer finds a woman worth fighting for. It took some doing, but Duke Webster is out of prison. Val Valenty arranged the parole, and now the onetime boxing coach is his puppet, breaking his back on Valenty's farm in exchange for a pittance. But Valenty is about to find out that boxing men never take orders without a scrap. The trouble starts when Webster meets Valenty's wife. A barrel-shaped woman whose extreme weight makes her old before her time, Holly stays fat on Valenty's cooking -- meat, potatoes, and endless gravy. Webster puts her on a diet, slimming her down the way he would an over-the-hill pro in search of a comeback. But as her waistline shrinks and her beauty emerges, Valenty gets jealous -- putting them on course for a bloody confrontation where only the hungry will survive.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.