Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Horace McCoy

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 27 Jan 2002

To add to Richard Moore's details about H.McCoy's life and works:

He was one of the successful writers of "Black Mask"
(starting there end 1927) but his success came mostly from a series with Jerry Frost sort of ace pilot of a squadron named "Hell's Stepson's". Due to the disaster of the Depression he lost his job as a journalist. and went to Hollywood in 1931, where he appeared in small parts for a few films (I didn't find traces about which ones) He later wrote more than 40 film scripts, but started also a career as novelist: 1935: THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY (his masterpiece, we all agree about that, but this book is also one of the major novels of the HB/Noir genre, as I mentioned it in my previous message) 1937: NO POCKETS IN A SHROUD this novel was a violent attack against the news-press alienation and corruption of the time. One of his bests novels.
(published in the USA only in 1948, in an amputated version - as it was rejected by the American publishers when ready in 1937) 1938: I SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME - already presented in this thread 1948: KISS TO-MORROW GOODBYE (his second top novel- the real best one after '..Horses' as I mentioned it in my previous message) Paperback editions are amputated up to the point of making it another book... so beware and try to find the full version

There was more after these, but the above is the best of his reduced production. A book was refused in 1952 THIS IS DYNAMITE because HMC did not want to amputate it; it finally was published as CORRUPTION CITY in 1959

 I know only two anthologies of short stories by HMC:
-Black Mask stories: assembled from the pulp magazine

So, *maybe* due to all the troubles he got for his writings to be published , plus the constant attacks of American critics, he was not very keen to produce more novels of the kind he liked. (?) An interesting point should be to know what was his position during the anti-left bigotry of the McCarthyism zealots in Hollywood in the early fifties. He died in 1955.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries

--- wrote:
> I have read two Horace McCoy novels and both were
> excellent. I would rank
> THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY very high. Even though
> I read it after the
> movie, it still blew me away. I read I SHOULD HAVE
> STAYED HOME much more
> recently and while it did not impact me as much as
> HORSES, it was quite a
> good novel about the Hollywood 1930s that interested
> so many writers. I
> recommend both novels.
> There were a few "A"
> pictures like "Gentleman Jim" with Errol Flynn but
> most were forgotten
> programmers. I'm sure they paid well but I wonder
> if they matched up to the
> "ambitions" he mentioned when he was living in that
> tiny Dallas apartment in
> 1931.
> Richard Moore
> --
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