Anyone familiar with the Norman Mailer Maelstrom will soon recognise the recurring themes of his novels; the salty neurosis of the alpha-male and the obsessions which stem thereof. These can attain monumental heights if one considers the academic foundation upon which his writing is so studiously based. Though one is loathe to accredit any kind of studiousness to one so …well let’s face it, blatantly SLEAZY! Here we have a true appreciator of William Burroughs. Mailer was quoted as saying that Buroughs was the only American author in living history who could concievably be called a genius – and his books all pay tribute to that. From his monolithic exploration of the CIA in HARLOT’S GAME to the mysterious Egyptian power games explored in ANCIENT EVENINGS. What we have in Mailer is an ivy-league anti christ in full servitude to the memory systems initated by Burroughs. Though, despite his ouevre (which now includes a biography of Hitler by a servant of the Devil…ha ha), my favourite is still TOUGH GUYS DON’T DANCE. The title is blatantly noir and the author attempts his own special psychedelic intervention of the genre. Coupled with copius narcotic episodes, lashings of stomach turning Freudian analysis and an inbred knowledge of the spirit world, this novel turns the concept of the ‘detective novel’ into a wild beast of a thing. Rabid, meaty and deliciously ugly, this book – unconstrained by any pretensions to literature whatsoever and EXTREMELY influenced by Burroughs (and the New England tradition of spectral horror -Poe/Lovecraft etc) carves a bloody cleft out of its its own side. I think it’s pretty cool – I have to say.