RARA-AVIS: Hard Case Crime in the news

From: hardcasecrime ( editor@hardcasecrime.com)
Date: 19 Sep 2004


Apologies for the BSP, but in case any of you are within reach of a newsstand that carries the Sunday New York Times, I thought you might be interested to know that Hard Case Crime turns up twice in today's issue -- once in Marilyn Stasio's "Crime" column in the Book Review, where she reviews GRIFTER'S GAME by Lawrence Block, and once in the Fashion supplement to the Times Magazine, where Jared Paul Stern uses an excerpt from Max Phillips' FADE TO BLONDE to comment on "pulp style."

Writes Stasio: "For the very good reason that I was too much of a snob to read pulp fiction back then, I missed Lawrence Block's 'Mona' when it was first published in 1961. But an enterprising new publishing outfit has reissued this lurid crime thriller under its original title, GRIFTER'S GAME (Hard Case Crime, paper, $6.99), and slapped a nifty piece of hard-boiled cover art on its kisser...the narrative is layered with detail, the action is handled with Block's distinctive clarity of style and the ending is a stunning tour de force. Honestly, the things we miss when our heads are buried in term papers."

And this from Stern: "The pulp fiction of the 1940's and 50's may have disappeared from the dime store (as has the dime store itself), but the noir look lives on. [If] a mug like Quentin Tarantino...can make money off pulp's provocative imagery, then why not revive the books themselves?...As for fashion, it behooves us to take a page from the pulp playbook. The heroes (or antiheroes) have a dark, dangerous style to match their machine-gun patter, a way of dressing that implies one is packing heat, not some prissy cell phone that gives you stock quotes...Take this passage from 'Fade to Blonde': 'He wore a snowy white shirt, a dark red tie figured in dull silver, and a quiet charcoal suit that must have cost more than any car I've ever owned. His suit was what my suit wanted to be when it grew up.' Now, _that's_ the kinda sugar Papa likes."

This, coming on top of enthusiastic pieces in New York magazine
("their covers [seem] as suitable for framing as for pulping") and USA Today ("All right! Pulp fiction lives!"), makes me optimistic that our first books will reach the wider audience we were hoping for, and give the line the "wind in its sails" to keep going after the first dozen titles.

That said, word-of-mouth from someone who really knows and loves this sort of fiction carries more weight than all the newspapers in world. So if you know someone who might like what we're doing and you could mention our books to them (heck, Christmas is coming; how many gifts cost only $6.99 these days?), Max and I would be forever in your debt...

Best, Charles

---------- Charles Ardai Editor, Hard Case Crime

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