Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pulp Fiction

by jaydro

I've always been a fan of film noir, but other than reading some of the established classics by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and a few others, I had never really plunged into the literary world of crime pulp fiction.

Until now.

It was because of publicity over Stephen King's novel, The Colorado Kid, written for the Hard Case Crime series imprint, that I first became aware of these books. I later admired the cover of the King book in a bookstore. Though I do have nostalgia for that sort of cover, I'm not really a Stephen King fan, so my interest wasn't quite piqued. It wasn't until a newly-renovated local public library actually put up a large display of the books in the series that I actually read one (I decided to start with the first one published and then continue serially--sometimes I'm just like that). And then another. And another. And another....

So far I haven't been disappointed. They're just like watching good film noir, only they're not restricted by the Hayes Code. The worst one so far has been Erle Stanley Gardner's (of Perry Mason fame) Top of the Heap, which was a bit too upbeat for my taste. The series mixes classic pulp titles with new material.

If the first few paragraphs of Grifter's Game don't suck you in....


Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I've read three of these books, The Grifter's Game, Fade to Blonde, and Mona, which is an old Laurence Block book. I should get more. I, too, was drawn by the pulp art.

6/16/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I'm an idiot. The Grifter's Game is the same book as Mona, which Block wrote back in the early sixties. Jaydro, that was some ending to The Grifter's Game, wasn't it? I don't think a writer would do that today.

6/16/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Jackrabbit, you're not as much of an idiot as the people who seem to want to persist in filing that Erle Stanley Gardner book under "A. A. Fair" because that was the original pseudonym used, despite the real name being plastered all over the book and the spine and advertising copy.

Grifter's Game's ending was pretty wrenching.

6/16/2006 03:11:00 PM  

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