Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Return of Hard Case

Here is the latest news from Charles Ardai regarding the return of Hard Case Crime. I'm just gonna reprint the entire statement in full since I'm sure it's of interest.

We've got some big news to announce today: After a year's hiatus, Hard Case Crime will be returning to bookstores with new titles in 2011, thanks to a deal we just signed with UK-based Titan Publishing.

Titan is a publisher both of fiction and of gorgeous art books focusing on pop culture such as movie poster art, pin-ups, newspaper comic strips, and Golden Age comic books, and has worked with filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, and George Lucas. Titan has been around for 30 years, has more than 200 employees, and in addition to publishing books also has a magazine division, a retail division (Titan owns the famous Forbidden Planet bookstore in London, and until recently co-owned the Murder One mystery bookstore with Maxim Jakubowski), and a merchandise division that produces items such as t-shirts, sculptures, and accessories.

We look forward to exploring ways we might develop some cool Hard Case Crime products with them! But first things first: books. Hard Case Crime will relaunch in September/October 2011 with four new books, including CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust (sequel to her Edgar Award-nominated MONEY SHOT), QUARRY'S EX by Max Allan Collins (the latest in the popular series of hit man novels by the author of "Road to Perdition"), and two never-before-published novels by MWA Grand Masters (names to be announced shortly).

Additionally, Titan Publishing plans to acquire all existing stock of Hard Case Crime's backlist from Dorchester Publishing and to resume shipping these titles to booksellers immediately. New books will be published in paperback (possibly some in hardcover as well!); ebook editions will also be released across multiple platforms. Titan is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Random House. We're very excited about working with Titan (indeed, we had offers from five publishers and chose Titan over several that were much larger and better-known) -- they love pulp fiction as much as we do and appreciate that in books like ours the visual dimension is just as important as the storytelling. It's hard to imagine a better home for Hard Case Crime.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harwood Rides Again

In time for the release of his latest novel, Young Junius, Seth Harwood has once again made the news for his innovative internet based self-promotion techniques. It's hard to put a price on the kind of press he's been getting for his work.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Pulp Press in NYM Again

New Pulp Press has gotten the attention of the folks at New York Magazine again. First, Bad Juju shows up on the approval matrix, and now Dave Zeltserman's 21 Tales has been singled out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Sinners

I've been on a bit of a graphic novel streak lately, and my most recent read was Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips latest Criminal trade, The Sinners. This one picks up the story of Tracy Lawless, the hardass military deserter who came back to the city to find his little brother's killer, only to discover some ugly truths and end up working as a hitman for the city's chief crime boss. Turns out Tracy's heart isn't in paid killing, so crime boss Sebastian Hyde asks him to look into a string of killings of made men. Tracy is relieved to have some non-homicidal work, but he's also got the military on his tail, and he's been having an affair with Hyde's wife. After the last storyline, Bad Night, and its predecessor, The Dead and the Dying, both of which were innovative, touching and horrifying in their own ways, The Sinners feels a bit rote.

Lawless is your average antihero, the killer with the broken heart of gold who lives by his own moral code, even if society disapproves, and the story was also a bit of a disappointment. The identity of the killers felt like a stretch, and the choice of bad guys is hardly unique.

(Spoiler Alert)

A priest who corrupts youth isn't exactly original, even if sex isn't involved (and really, hasn't the Catholic Church been kicked around enough? I'm no fan of Catholicism. I could expound on my criticisms at length but I won't. This blog is about crime fiction not religion.) Criminal usually tells unusual stories (Coward or Bad Night), or tells more conventional stories in unconventional ways (The Dead and The Dying). This particular story arc did neither. There was no big twist or ending that provoked sympathy for the lost souls Brubaker creates so well. I think this stems from the fact that Lawless just isn't that interesting of a character. His first story arc was saved by the ending, which was quite the punch in the gut for both the character and the reader, but now that he's found out the truth about his brother, and quit romanticizing his past, he's just another big man with a gun and an attitude. Hopefully the next story arc will be a little more engaging.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Outfit

Darwyn Cooke's follow-up to his adaptation of Richard Stark's The Hunter, hit shelves this month. The book glosses over much of what happens in The Man With the Getaway Face, the second Parker novel, in favor of the more exciting third novel. While this choice makes artistic and economic sense, it does, however, leave the book feeling a bit stuffed.

The Outfit was a book which had a lot going on, and the book described many different robberies by many different thieves. Cooke cheats a bit when it gets to this bit of the story, which feels like a bit of a gyp, since the description of clever heists is part of the appeal of the Parker stories. At one point, Cooke merely excerpts an account of a crime directly from the novel, disguising it as a newspaper article. This little trick doesn't work because Stark's prose doesn't feel like a newspaper article, and because this is a graphic novel. I've already read the novel. I own it. I can read it any time I want. The entire purpose of a graphic novel is to see as well as read. The other crimes, however, are presented in unique visual styles of their own, separating them from the rest of the book, which is a good trick, even if the entire section feels a bit perfunctory. Fortunately, the book is just as gorgeous as the first one, and is, overall, faithful to Stark's famous character. The three color artwork, and Cooke's obvious attention to period detail make the book a pleasure to read. I just finished it, and I think I'm going to go back and read it again, just to pick up any details I may have missed.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Rare book dealers, The Helfond Book Gallery, have some pretty neat posters based on vintage paperbacks at their website Bibliopulp. You can also search for rare books, if you want to.