Re: RARA-AVIS: Suggestions for Hardboiled History Book????

William Denton (
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 21:13:40 -0400 (EDT)

On 24 August 1999, Martha Fischer wrote:

: does anyone know anything about hardboiled america : lurid paperbacks
: and the masters of noir, by geoffrey ob'rien? is it strictly a
: survey, or is he able to go into some depth on individual writers and
: books?

He discusses some writers more than others, but it's a slim book. When it came out there wasn't much else available on the subject, and most of the books he discusses were out of print. Everything by Jim Thompson was OP, for example, but since then the Mysterious Press and Black Lizard have reprinted practically everything by him and you trip over stacks of the stuff in used stores. Also, there are two Thompson biographies now, while O'Brien had so little to work on that I think he made some factual mistakes.

I was given the book about twelve years ago and it was one of the things that got me interested in hardboiled and noir books. It may not be long or go into great detail, but O'Brien knows what he's talking about and covers many writers very well. It's an excellent introduction, and has great reproductions of covers. Anyone interested in the genre is bound to like it. O'Brien's recommended list of books to read is up on the web site.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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