Phillip Race was the pen name for Elmer Parsons. Born in 1926, Parsons spent much his early life in and out of prison. When he was 23, he stole a car and was arrested after a lengthy police chase. He served three years for that. Three years later, he was arrested a second time and charged with writing 22 bad checks. He was sentenced to five years, which he served in San Quentin. While imprisoned, he edited the prison newspaper and he wrote and published his first three novels, including Johnny Come Deadly. After he was released in 1960, he wrote westerns under his own name and was a prolific television writer.
Johnny Come Deadly was about a card shark named Johnny Berlin, who cops hated and women loved. The cover above, which done by Ernest “Darcy” Chiriacka, is from 1960.