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Killer in Drag [Paperback]

Jr. Wood Ed , Edward D, Jr Wood


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Book Description

13 May 1999
Impeccably attired in either gender, hired assassin Glen becomes Glenda when it's time to work as drag queen killer-for-hire.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group; Four Walls Eight Windows Ed edition (13 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581200
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,265,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ed Wood's literary "masterpiece" 11 Dec 2001
By Jeffrey Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even while Ed Wood was scraping to get together the resources necessary to make his infamous films (and earning an underserved reputation as the worst director of all time), he was also making side money by writing literally hundreds of pulp and "adult" novels. Killer in Drag, considered to be his signature novel, was written when Wood was on the verge of sinking into his final alcoholic decline. It deals with Wood's favorite theme -- a strong, heterosexual man who enjoys dressing up as a woman. In this case, Glen is also Glenda. Hoping to raise the money for a sex change operation, Glen works as a contract killer for "the syndicate." However, in one of the less convuluted plot twists of the book, Glen is then unjustly accused of the one murder he didn't commit. Glen is forced to go on the run. Ending up in a backwater town, Glen also ends up purchasing a used carnival and finding himself the prey of two corrupt cops. Even as Glen struggles to keep Glenda from taking over his own personality, he finds time to pursue a romance with an understanding prostitute and to bond with an alcoholic drag queen. This is the type of plot that only Ed Wood could come up with and if you're a fan of the man's films, you'll find a lot to enjoy in this book. Is the book trash? You bet. Is it even a good book? Um...no, not really. But it is a lot of fun for Wood devotees who, by this point, should know what to expect.
It should also be pointed out that this book proves that, even if he wasn't talented, Ed Wood still doesn't deserve to be known as the worst director or writer ever to work in Hollywood. While the dialouge in this book (and his films) is often flat and full of terrible jokes, is it really any worse than that to be found in Titanic or Star Wars: Episode 1 or the collected works of Bret Easton Ellis? What comes through, most sadly, in this book is a sense of overwhelming sincerity. No matter how ludicrous the plot, its obvious that Wood is attempting to tell a touching story that, underneath the pulp stylings, contains a plea for tolerance for men (like Wood himself) who enjoyed wearing women's clothing. There's a niave quality to the book's attempt to be hard-bioled pulp that is almost child-like and, in a way, almost endearing. And, unlike several other writers, Wood actually does manage to pull off one compelling chapter in which the drag queen Shrilee opens up to Glen about his tragic past and the persecution he's suffered as a result of his preference. Its a short chapter but well written and for a few pages, Wood is obviously writing from his soul. No, it doesn't mean that Wood was actually a brilliant talent waiting to be discovered. But it does show that Wood did possess an actual sensitivity and compassion for his subjects -- no matter how ludicrous a plot he may have constructed to showcase that sensitivity. It also shows that Wood, no matter how untalented a dreamer he may have been, deserves more than to be simply laughed off as "the worst writer/director of all time."
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Very Entertaining 1 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you have never read and Ed Wood book--like I hadn't--then this is a great one to start with. Highly entertaining and suspenseful and not at all what you might expect. What else could you ask for? Jason Starr (author of Cold Caller and Nothing Personal)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could NOT put this book down!!!! 20 Oct 2001
By VD (vdbooks) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Fairies and dragons and witches and gnomes aren't real, but they bore the phlegm out of me. High-heeled, cross-dressing hit men aren't real either, but they fascinate me, especially when delivered with the earnestness and raw sensibilities of an over-indulgent Ed Wood Jr.

This book has it all. Murder, mayhem, and endless wardrobe minutiae. More intelligible than its sequel, Death of a Transvestite, Killer in Drag puts the P back into pulp. And puts it back into pumps, too.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Ed Wood afficianados. 25 Jun 2003
By Blake Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The most amazing thing about "Killer in Drag" is that it plays out more-or-less exactly like one of EDW2's movies. The action moves from point-to-point without logic or consistency, and when it all ends rather abruptly, you're not sure what, if anything, you've just witnessed. He probably could've made big bucks turning out Hollywood blockbusters in the '90s.
Glenda is an assassin for "The Syndicate". The Syndicate is apparently an equal-opportunity employer, with a quota for exactly one transvestite (TV) assassin, as she is later stalked by her (much inferior) replacement.
Anyway, Glenda's trying to get out of The Syndicate (which no one ever does, of course) by--get this--having a sex-change operation. In other words, Glen, whose specialty is portraying a woman very convincingly, is going to hide from his criminal employers by actually becoming a woman.
In a shocking and completely unexplained twist, Glen is spared from the homosexual prostituting he needs to get the money for the sex change by murder of his would-be patron. So he goes on the lam, stopping every few miles to change clothes.
He finally decides to hide from the law by--yes, you guessed it--buying a carnival. (If you actually did guess that, you may have a lucrative career in writing ahead of you.)
In other words, this book is chock full of the surreal antics and idiomatic use of language that marks EDW2's film work. It probably didn't take much longer to write than it does to read and at this point '65, he was well on his way to alcohol-induced dementia. (I would guess the bulk of the book is descriptions about people drinking, mixing drinks, wanting a drink, etc.) The tell-tale sign is in the delirious description of his alter ego "Shirlee", described unpleasantly as an ugly old drunken TV.
"Shirlee" only adds a certain poignancy to the whole proceedings, with its raw energy and its echos and shadows of talent. The author went off the rails somewhere in life, and there's a real tragedy in not having him around to reflect on it all. Of course, that's long spilt milk, and it must be admitted that the man left an enduring legacy.
A must-read for Ed Wood afficianados.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is no "Drag" 5 May 2000
By "slacker616" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From the typewriter of the infamous Ed Wood, comes this fantastic pulp novel of cross-dressing and bloody murder. Deliciously written, daringly sensitive, this paperback is a treat to anyone who knows not to stretch a sweater or break a nail whilst pumping hot lead into unsuspecting victims. Our hero "Glen" becomes "Glenda" an assasin for the syndicate. Glenda is a hard killer who for a price dishes out smart remarks along with bullets. The theme is pretty raw and ridiculous, but hey, it's Ed Wood! Get a copy while they last!
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