I went to grad school in Chapel Hill, NC, a town of a great
many good bookstores.
There was one I frequented often, and one day they had a big
sale on Black Lizards. The original ones; the Creative Arts
ones. They were all just piled in a bin somewhere -- I forget
the deal now but it was something like three for ten
At that time Jim Thompson had just started his resurfacing,
so I couldn't find any Thompsons -- but most of the rest were
there. I went pig wild. I bought all the Goodis I could find,
all the Willeford. All the Whittington. I didn't know near as
much about hardboiled fiction as I do now, but I picked up
one-offs just because of the imprint, like Steve Fisher's I
WAKE UP SCREAMING or Paul Cain's remarkable FAST ONE.
Apparently some of these original reissues now are valuable
in their own right, which is neat.
--- "David L. Wilson" < email@example.com> wrote:
> For years I prayed at the altar of Knopf, beginning
> with Cain and
> Burnett. If you were a Knopf author, brother, you
> were in. I was a
> hardback snob. Call it the ignorance of youth.
> Black Lizard helped
> with my reformation. I had never read Jim Thompson
> before the Lizard's
> first odd-sized, squared-off volumes came out,
> garish and in your face.
> I was drawn to them immediately, picked up A Swell
> Looking Babe and
> after I read it I sent my girlfriend to buy the
> remaining three from
> the nearest B. Dalton's. She found them, marched
> them to the cash
> register where the clerk looked the books over,
> sniffed and said, "I
> didn't know we carried books like these!". It was
> not an endorsement.
> It was truly my belated entrance into the world of
> paperback originals.
> Thank you, Black Lizard.
> David L. Wilson
> Downieville, CA
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