Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Saturday, December 02, 2006

So Good... it's Criminal.

Been meaning to write about Hard Case Crime for a while now. If you're not familiar with HCC, it's a publishing imprint that's just about to go into its third year, offering top-quality hardboiled (mostly) crime fiction – both vintage reprints of rare pulp and old school-style originals – in paperback, with brand new painted covers and graphic design that evokes the era of the great PBO publishing houses like Gold Medal.

Among the authors in their stable are such names as Max Allan Collins, Lawrence Block, David Dodge, Cornell Woolrich, Richard S. Prather, Charles Williams, Ed McBain, Richard Powell, Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Donald E. Westlake (and Richard Stark), and Stephen King, among many others. In fact, among them are line founders Charles Ardai and Max Phillips, who have both contributed their own books to the line; Ardai writing as "Richard Aleas." Authors announced for future volumes include Gil Brewer, David Goodis... and Mickey Spillane!

The cover illustrations are gorgeous. Artists include Richard B. Farrell, Michael Koelsch, Gregory Manchess, Chuck Pyle and Glen Orbik. Hard Case Crime has even managed to coax brand new paintings out of legendary paperback illustrator Robert McGinnis... and they've been among his best!

Unfortunately, finances have prohibited me being able to buy every title the line, which generally releases a book a month, but I've got probably two-thirds of the Hard Case library, and not one has been a disappointment.

Hell, I've even been published by Hard Case! Sorta. When HCC republished Donald Hamilton's Night Walker with a quote on the back culled from the Thrilling Detective Website – the quote was from an article I wrote! Too bad they didn't attribute it to me on the cover, but hey – it's there, it's mine, and as a huge fan of Hamilton, I'm appropriately... thrilled!

Speaking of Thrilling Detective, after a long hiatus, hardboiled webmonkey Kevin Burton Smith has just posted a new "issue" of his amazing and invaluable website, with a bunch of brand new short fiction and over 300 new or updated files added to its already extensive database of private eye characters, authors and scholarship.

I've been a fan of the site for years, and long ago, I had the honor of being among the first authors to have their P.I. fiction published on the site, with stories featuring my own P.I. character Matthew Dain. Surprisingly, even after all these years, I still occasionally get e-mails from folks saying kind things about my stories there.

Maybe it's time to write some new ones?

1 comment:

Glen Davis said...

Coincidentally, I've just finished Prather's The Peddler. It's a formulaic tale of the rise and fall of a gangster, but is better told than most.