Al, from what I can tell by doing some quick research, Dodd & Mead published both Woolrich and Ross Macdonald, publishing their books in hardcover. You probably had more noir being published by Woolrich alone than all the corporate NY houses combined over the last 25 years. How Like a God by Rex Stout is very very dark, great book, although it takes some patience to get into it, but I highly recommend finding a copy. Forget that it's second person, the subject matter is far too dark for NY today. About PBOs from writers other than Thompson and Goodis not being that dark--I think you have to minimally include Dan Marlowe, Gil Brewer, Charles Williams, Charles Willeford and Peter Rabe also in that group.
--- In email@example.com, "Allan Guthrie" <allan@...> wrote:
> Interesting, Dave. There's no denying that paperback originals exploded in
> the 50s and gave us a lot of the writers we admire these days. Many of those
> writers were struggling to find a hardcover publisher and the pbo explosion
> was something of a godsend. I'm not sure how prevalent noir was in the 50s,
> though. Most paperback originals weren't that dark. Goodis, Thompson, etc.,
> were exceptions rather than the norm.
> Books like Double Indemnity, How Like A God and Anyone's My Name were highly
> original in concept at the time they were published. These days they'd seem
> pretty cliched because they've been imitated so often (I don't know if
> that's true of HLaG, haven't read it, but I suspect if it failed to get
> published it would be on account of the second person narrative rather than
> being too dark). Not sure who published Woolrich or Macdonald originally,
> but I'm pretty sure Woolrich's first published books weren't crime novels.
> Incidentally, Erskine Caldwell's debut -- the ultra-noir THE BASTARD, from
> 1929 -- would appear to have been self-published, something I only recently
> discovered. Too dark for New York, I suspect. Might also explain why he
> rarely spoke about it.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "davezeltserman" <Dave.Zeltserman@...>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:03 PM
> Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Small Crimes
> > Al, thinking about this a little bit, I'll stick with my original
> > observation, and that's that publishing has changed dramatically over the
> > past 25 years, specifically crime fiction, with much more resistance by NY
> > to publish dark crime fiction and real noir. Yes, many of the great noir
> > books from Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Charles Williams, Dan Marlowe,
> > Peter Rabe, etc. came from Gold Medal and other paperback publishers, but
> > at least they existed--today, Hard Case is the only equivalent I can think
> > of, and Charles is publishing a tiny fraction of original crime fiction
> > compared to Gold Medal. And I'll stick by that books like Dead City,
> > Cain's Postman and Double Indemnity, Seymour Shubin's Anyone's My Name,
> > Rex Stout's How Like a God, all published by NY as hardcovers would be
> > just about off limits to NY today. All you have to do is look at the most
> > popular PI from the 50s, Mike Hammer, and the last 25 years, Spenser, to
> > see how much crime fiction changed. Btw. who published Cornell Woolrich
> > and Ross Macdonald originally?
> > --Dave
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