Malcolm Braly: Felony Tank

Frederick Muller Ltd, 1962 (by arrangement with Fawcett Publication, Inc)

* 1925, Portland, Oregon, † 1980

Charge: Armed Robbery
Prison: Nevada State Prison (Map)

By the time he was forty had spent nearly seventeen years in prison for burglary, serving time at Nevada State Prison, San Quentin, and Folsom State Prison. It is not clear at which prison each book was written and for how long in particular he spent in each prison. For this reason the reference is for 17 years in total, in three separate prisons, producing three separate novels. The particular prisons assigned to each novel are based on chronology of their authorship and specific references given in each text. http://www.nybooks.com/nyrb/authors/8083


Malcolm Braly's first novel, a Gold Medal PBO called FELONY TANK, made minor crime fiction history when it became one of the only two PBO novels ever to be nominated for Edgar awards prior to the 1969 institution of the Best Paperback Original Novel category.

'The Hole was a small cell, bare of any butt the most essential features, and it hadn't been cleaned in a long time. The inside of the toilet was stained a deep orange below the waterline and the pipes banged and hissed before a brownish trickle would run in the sink. The only light was a forty-watt bulb, recessed into the ceiling and protected by a grating of woven metal strips. A bare matress covering half the floor space was so old almost all of the cotton tufts were missing; the few remaining were dark grey. The single blanket felt greasy. The only othe object in the cell was a Gideon Bible. The cover was missing and the pages torn out into the middle of Exodus...The walls were the original brick of the building, repainted many times, and now almost completely covered with a jumble of names, dates, and initials, the work of men intent on leaving their record, as before them more powerful men had caused mountains of stone to be built in the dessert...Many of the dates preceeded his own birth, and it gave him an eerie feeling to think of men being in this hole before he was ever boorn, carving the evidence of their passing into the submerged brick. A. Lundgren. Going to hang for something he never done." " (Chapter ten; pg.58)

Other prison writings by the author:

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