Tuesday, November 14, 2023

PaperBack: “I, Mobster”

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.

I, Mobster, by “Anonymous,” aka Joseph Hilton Smyth (Gold Medal, 1958). As Wikipedia relates, Smyth (1901-1972) “was an American publisher and pulp author. He and two associates, Walker Gray Matheson and Irvine Harvey Williams, in connection with their publishing activities, were convicted in 1942 for acting as agents for the Japanese government without registering with the State Department.” Under the nom de plume Joseph Hilton, Smyth went on to publish two novels: Angels in the Gutter (1955) and President’s Agent (1963). I, Mobster—released originally by Gold Medal in 1951, bearing a different cover—was touted as the “autobiography of a high-level New York mob figure,” but the truth of that has been called into question. The book became the basis for a 1959 Roger Corman movie of the same title “starring Steve Cochran in a rags-to-riches, innocence-to-corruption tale of a neighborhood kid who becomes a top man in the mob.”

Cover illustration by Barye Phillips.

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