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Gold Medal books weren’t books that won literary awards, or any kind of awards at all. But during the 1950s the press put out some of the best authors America had to offer, writers like Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, and David Goodis, who not only peered into the bleakest reaches of the psyche, but did it with blood-tinged glee. And while many of the Gold Medal pulps have since become acknowledged classics, one of its finest, Elliott Chaze’sBlack Wings Has My Angel, has remained in the shadows, passed along from reader to reader despite being championed by the likes of Ed Gorman and Bill Pronzini. Yet from the very first pages it’s clear thatBlack Wings Has My Angel ranks with the best of the era. When Tim Sunblade escapes from prison, his sole possession is an infallible plan for the ultimate heist. Only trouble is it’s a two-person job. So when he meets Virginia, a curiously well-spoken “ten-dollar tramp,” and discovers that the only thing she has a passion for is “drifts of money, lumps of it,” he knows he’s found his partner as well as his match. There’s no telling whether this lavender-eyed angel will be Sunblade’s making or his damnation.To read Chaze’s novel is to be taken on a road trip filled with hairpin turns and wild reversals, to careen through the darkest landscapes of desperate passion. It is a ride you will never forget.