Books by Edward Bunker

STARK by Edward Bunker
Released: Jan. 3, 2008

"Ellroy's introduction pronounces this fledgling effort, presumably written around 1970, 'a prophecy of the fine writer Mr. Bunker would become.' Strike 'fine,' exactly the wrong word for Bunker's real gifts, and that description is spot-on."
This recently discovered first novel by Bunker (1933-2005), who wrote his way out of prison with a series of tough-guy novels and memoirs (Education of a Felon: A Memoir, 2000, etc.), hints at both the accomplishments and the limitations of his later work. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2000

" Needs a jolt of energy, an injection of craft. (Author tour)"
The felon-turned-author (Little Boy Blue, 1997, etc.) revisits the sorry, sordid scenes of his endless crimes. Read full book review >
LITTLE BOY BLUE by Edward Bunker
Released: Sept. 16, 1997

St. Martin's brings back into print the hard-to-find third book (first published in 1980) by ex-con novelist, screenwriter, and actor Bunker (Dog Eat Dog, 1996; The Animal Factory, 1977), whose fictional accounts of life in the American justice system- -from juvie hall to San Quentin—bear none of the theoretical pretensions of Jack Henry Abbott. Bunker shoots straight—his direct and transparent prose captures the ``primacy of violence'' that defines life in the slammer. And his larger point is pretty simple: Once you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, it's hard to break the cycle of recidivism. Especially if you're like young Alex Hamilton—a problem child who's thrown out of numerous military schools and foster homes while his father struggles to find work in post-Depression California. At age 11, despite a high IQ and a love of reading, Alex can't control his anger. After he attacks the housemother at a Home for Boys, he hits the road, surviving on petty thievery, until one robbery escalates into his first assault with a deadly weapon. While in police custody, Alex learns that his father is dead. With no relatives, he's now completely at the mercy of a system that values subservience over fairness. His uncontrolled rage sends him to a mental hospital for observation, where some adult junkies school him in the ways of the street. Diagnosed a ``borderline psychopath,'' Alex's escapades eventually land him in reform school. In constant fear of being ``punked'' (i.e., buggered), he resorts to even more violent behavior. Finally paroled in his mid-teens, Alex tries living with his father's long-estranged sister, but that turns sour quickly. More violence, seemingly inevitable, follows. Throughout, Bunker clearly articulates the ``code'' of prison life and the pathology of the career criminal in raw, muscular prose. Read full book review >
DOG EAT DOG by Edward Bunker
Released: Aug. 13, 1996

A grim '90s noir caper by the celebrated ex-con author of Little Boy Blue (1981), etc. Troy Cameron is a savvy, good-looking sociopath whose career goal is to be an outlaw with a lifetime income. Diesel Cameron, a tight friend he made at reform school, has a wife, a son, and a job with the teamsters that doesn't involve anything more serious than breaking legs and torching the occasional truck. Mad Dog McCain, the faithful companion who once got himself tossed into the hole to save Troy's parole, solves tough problems by killing the people who pose them. When Troy gets sprung from San Quentin, the three of them—their loyalties overriding but not mitigating their wary distrust of each other—team up in hopes of pulling a job that will get them out of the loop for good. It's a pipe dream, of course. Figuring that the best victims are criminals who can't run to the police, Troy and his buddies kidnap a baby druglord and force him to turn over a fat stash to them, as the dialogue bristles and the action crackles with authenticity. But a second kidnapping—snatching a major smuggler's infant as collateral for an uncollectible debt the smuggler owes a trafficker now lording it over a Mexican prison—goes wrong in a horrifyingly funny way, and the three conspirators find themselves on the run, wanted by every cop in California, and predictably at odds with each other. Throughout this brutal catalog of crimes, Bunker has his own axe to grind—the insanity of a three-strikes law that makes any two-time loser willing to kill to avoid being picked up on the smallest felony charge—but what lingers in the memory is the single-mindedness of his doomed hoodlums, who can't focus on anything but survival, revenge, and the big score. A jolt of frozen adrenaline, relieved only by the walk-ons of the latest accomplices and victims. Read full book review >