Riverton Noir

Perry Glasser

Winner of the Gival Press Novel Award - 2011.

When Mickey Black fixes the big Riverton-Haverhill basketball game by bribing Chucker Washington to shave just a few points, Mickey clears enough coin to persuade Mickey's Haverhill associate, a leg-breaker named Danny Donnelly, to introduce Mickey to Aunt Sosha, the woman who controls the rackets in the Merrimack Valley. Seeing possibilities for OxyContin in Riverton, Aunt Sosha sends Mickey home to start the business, but Aunt Sosha and her friend, Avram, an interrogator once dismissed from the Mossad for excessive zeal, strictly as a matter of security hold Mickey's buddy, Bughouse, hostage. Maybe it would have all worked out if Mickey hadnýt been traveling with Madge. Madge is obsessed with the idea that she and everyone else in Riverton may be unreal, and the girl may have a point. Her hymen grows back, no one in Riverton sickens or dies, and no one has substantial memories. Every day at Riverton High, the lessons are the same. She cuts herself to feel real, and her wounds heal overnight. Worst of all, Madge feels the Shadow on her far too often, an unseen power that resets reality, wipes memories clean, and robs Madge of life experience. Her memory lapses trouble her. So when Bughouse is terrified of the comic book he finds, something called Archie, though Madge won't let on, she is concerned. What could be worse than being a minor character in someone else's dream? What if someone else's dream is her nightmare? Before Mickey can slide into his usual booth at Daddy Kaneýs All-American Burger Shoppe and sell the first milligram of Oxy, on a moonless night outside the No-tel Motel Juice catches his old nemesis with his girl. Juice confuses Mickey's head with a baseball, and since Juice is carrying a Louisville Slugger, he tries to hit a home-run. What else could Mickey do except reach for his Smith and Wesson .38? Profound, profane and provocative, Riverton Noir is novel that might have been penned by Franz Kafka collaborating with Mickey Spillane and Phillip K. Dick. On one level it's an action thriller; on another it poses basic existential questions on the nature of consciousness, madness, and the fabric of existence; on every level it's a page-turnerýs delight.

"In Riverton Noir, Perry Glasser browbeats high and low brow art into a work of sublime halftone pulp picture printing, shading stuttered shadows with the darker side of your so-called comic book. His pointillistic prose pops like Pop Art, but it's as pleasing as all get out in all that it knows and shows." -Michael Martone, author of Four for a Quarter


"It is one thing to write a crackling yarn; the literary woods are full of gripping stories. But it is quite another thing to deliver that story as Perry Glasser has done in Riverton Noir: it's a riveting tale, all right, but its prose is a crackler in its own right. When I consider the style of this first-rate novelist, I start conjuring one of America's truly great writers, Raymond Chandler. Glasser is in the same league when it comes to dialogue, description, humor and character development. Riverton Noir will leave you breathless as narrative, awed as pure writing." - Sydney Lea, Vermont Poet Laureate


"High school is eternal, someone has said, and Riverton High is high school on steroids, the horniest high school in the history of American fiction. Perry Glasser brings the nitty and the gritty to this novel of exaggeration and ribaldry. Big, vibrant, laugh-out-loud funny, it is also fearless about sex and violence, which in Riverton can seem like the same thing. Don't worry - the novel-s structure and theme are carefully controlled by 'the Dreamer,' not to mention the laws of modern physics, and Glasserýs sentences, among such seeming chaos, are marvels of clarity. This should be the author's break-out book." - Kelly Cherry, author of We Can Still Be Friends


"No graphic novel ever carved such shapely, scary, sexy shadows as Riverton Noir! No magic realism ever assembled such a Land o'Goshen, with scuzzballs and cutie-pies, Happy Days and Mean Streets, zombies (sort of) and deep thinkers. Perry Glasser has stolen the cogitations of David Foster Wallace, the worrying over self-consciousness and what's actually out there, and grafted them to tough-guy eroticism of Marvel comics. The energy's sky-high, the verbal pleasure's unending, and the American crime novel have notched a new benchmark." - John Domini, judge for the 2011 Gival Press Novel Award and author of A Tomb on the Periphery


Perry Glasser

Perry Glasser is a memoirist, short story writer and novelist. He is the author of three prize-winning collections of short fiction: Dangerous Places received the 2008 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize from BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Singing on the Titanic (Urbana and Chicago: The University of Illinois Press, 1987) which was recorded by the Library of Congress for the blind; Suspicious Origins (St. Paul: New Rivers Press, 1985), which was the Winner of the Minnesota Voice Competition. A three time winner of P.E.N. Syndicated Fiction Awards, his work has twice been read on National Public Radio's “The Sound of Writing.” He has been named at fellow at The Norman Mailer House, Ucross, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, was a scholar at Bread Loaf, and in consecutive years was named a winner of the annual Boston Fiction Festival. His memoir about his having been a single parent, “Iowa Black Dirt,” won First Prize from The Good Men Foundation; his story, “I-95, Southbound” received the Gival Press Short Story Award and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His memoir, “Excelsior” won an award from Memoir (and). He has been a Contributing Editor of North American Review since 1994. Glasser was names a 2012 Fellow in Creative Nonfiction by the Massachusetts Cultural Council; he teaches professional writing at Salem State University. He lives in Haverhill, Massachusetts and can often be found bicycling the back roads of the Merrimack River Valley.