Join The Black Mass With Brother Springer

"This is a Gila monster of a novel … its teeth marks will still be on your hand after you finish it." Barry Gifford, READ ‘EM AND WEEP

THE BLACK MASS OF BROTHER SPRINGER tells the story of Sam Springer, a drifter novelist who meets Jack Dover, the retiring Abbot of the Church of God’s Flock. Dover’s final official act is to ordain Springer and send him off to serve as pastor of an all-Black church in Jacksonville, Florida. Springer soon becomes entangled in the city’s growing civil rights movement … and with the church deacon’s earthy young wife, Merita. 

The Washington post calls this darkly humorous novel by Charles Willeford, one of the great crime writers of the 20th century, “his masterpiece.”

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"Willeford clearly was a man who loved words and that love comes through here. One shouldn’t expect the dark stylings of his prose but the imagery here is striking. Well worth the price to read this rare 1967 collection."
Brian Lindenmuth on our Kindle release of Poontang

We hope you like Poontang

Originally published in 1967, this short book of poems is the rarest of Charles Willeford’s works. Used copies of it are available usually in the range of $2,500 to $3,500.

Wit’s End licensed the work from Betsy Willeford, and you can get the book now for $0.99 in the amazon kindle store.

"Willeford’s experience of his life led him to a certain attitude toward the world and his place in it, and this attitude, ironic without meanness, comic but deeply caring, informed every book he ever wrote, from his two volumes of autobiography through all the unnoticed novels." Donald Westlake

Willeford Writes

After lighting my cigarette I said, not unkindly, “If you don’t like to fish and you don’t eat fish, why have you been fishing all day? I remember seeing you in this same spot when I crossed the bridge at around nine this morning.” He was silent.

“Because,” he said at last, “I don’t know what else to do. Before I retired I was vice-president of an insurance company in St. Louis. And this is what I always thought I wanted to do someday, retire to Florida and fish. The first day I tried it I discovered I disliked it. I had already bought a house, and my wife wouldn’t let me stay home during the day.

“So I fish. Every day. In the beginning I used to take my catch home. But when I did, my wife felt that it was her duty to cook them. And I hate the taste of fish, the stink of fish and even the smell of other fishermen. That’s why I stand down here by myself. Now when I go home in the evening I tell my wife that I didn’t catch anything. It’s simpler that way. She doesn’t have to prepare the fish, and I don’t have to eat any.”

From Old Man at the Bridge by Charles Willeford

"Strange" by Charles Willeford

"The unlikely father of Miami crime fiction." Atlantic Monthly

The question wasn’t what is the best place to pick up women in Miami. It wasn’t what was the easiest place either. The big question the three friends discussed was what was the most difficult place to pick up women in 1970’s Miami. When the expert of the group, Hank, takes on the challenge his friends propose, things quickly go from bad to worse in this darkly humorous novella by Charles Willeford, dubbed “the Pope of Psychopulp” by The Village Voice.

Available for 99 cents at the Kindle Store

Discussing Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino has said that the film “is not noir. I don’t do neo-noir. I see Pulp Fiction as closer to modern-day crime fiction, a little closer to Charles Willeford.”

"My work is one
long triumph
over my
limitations."

Charles Willeford

"Quirky is the word that always comes to mind. Willeford wrote quirky books about quirky characters, and seems to have done so with a magnificent disregard for what anyone else thought."
Lawrence Block

The Ordainment of Brother Springer by Charles Willeford

This darkly humorous one act play is a riff on Charles Willeford's “masterpiece” (as it was called by The Washington Post), THE BLACK MASS OF BROTHER SPRINGER. It re-imagines the ordainment of Sam Springer — a drifter novelist — as a pastor of the Church of God’s Flock in Jacksonville, FL. 

Available for 99 cents at the Kindle Store

"I had a hunch that madness was a predominant theme and normal condition for Americans living in the second half of the century" Charles Willeford

“Willeford’s experience of his life led him to a certain attitude toward the world and his place in it, and this attitude, ironic without meanness, comic but deeply caring, informed every book he ever wrote, from his two volumes of autobiography through all the unnoticed novels.” Donald Westlake

"I’m not really breaking the genre, just bending it a bit." Charles Willeford

Charles Willeford

Charles Willeford: The Old Man at the Bridge

Here is Charles Willeford’s slyly humorous meditation on fishing, relationships and machismo. 

Available for 99 cents at the Kindle Store

"Nobody writes a better crime novel," Elmore Leonard said of Willeford.

Discussing Pulp FictionQuentin Tarantino has said that the film “is not noir. I don’t do neo-noir. I see Pulp Fiction as closer to modern-day crime fiction, a little closer to Charles Willeford.”

Fellow writer James Lee Burke has acknowledged a “great debt” to Willeford: “If someone wanted advice about writing, about how to pull it off, make it work, punch it up…Charles could tell you how to do it.”

Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post called him “one of our most skilled, interesting, accomplished and productive writers of what the literary establishment insists on pigeonholing as ‘genre’ fiction.”