Score one for Hard Case

CNN has a substantial profile of Charles Ardai & Max Phillips, the crazy kids behind the ever-growing sucessful paperback imprint line of pulp fiction, Hard Case Crime:

When Charles Ardai and Max Phillips,

both lovers of pulp fiction, decided to form a new paperback imprint

dedicated to resuscitating the golden age of pulp paperbacks, they did

so in the time-honored manner of pulp characters through the ages —

over drinks.

“Alcohol was involved, of course, and this is

the sort of idea you generally expect will fade as sobriety returns,

but the next day we both still loved the idea,” said co-founder Ardai

in an interview.

“We knew how much work it would be, but the more we thought about it, the more irresistible it seemed.”

And well, faithful blog readers know the rest of the story, but it’s cool to read feedback from some of the genre greats:

Donald Westlake is particularly appreciative of the imprint’s desire to serve up its pulp with blades intact.


postwar hard-boiled paperback original, from the late 1940s through the

’60s, used the experience of World War II to form a fatalistic

tough-minded worldview, in which trust is almost always wrong,” he says.


write now in a different world, with different experiences and

different expectations. I would say the books now are softer because

the experiences of this world are softer.”

Mystery-writing legend

Block, whose second Hard Case novel, “The Girl With the Long Green

Heart,” will be published next month, was also pleased.

“I think

they’re playing a role similar to that played a generation ago by Black

Lizard [an imprint created by Vintage in the early ’90s], and doing so

with taste and high energy.”

I’m not sure I totally buy Westlake’s argument that the experiences of today’s world are softer than before, but then again, maybe the books due out in the next five to ten years will be even bleaker than they are now…