I’m the substitute chef at Publishers Lunch this week, and added to the usual spate of deadlines means that posting here will be light for the next few days. I would be remiss in not pointing to Leonard Cassuto’s excellent appraisal of Hard Case Crime and Charles Ardai’s FIFTY-TO-ONE, running this week in the B&N Review, which pinpoints why these old-school and new-school pulp novels have found an eager audience:
by the likes of Day Keene and Ed McBain, but its look is proudly and
defiantly retro — so much so that their striking cover art makes Hard
Case books jump off the rack at you. Each one features an original
painting in the classic lurid style of the cheap paperbacks of
yesteryear. This visual signature typifies the attitude of the entire
publishing venture: Hard Case argues for crime fiction as a genre
worthy of respect, but of a particular kind. Unlike Quentin Tarantino,
whose reverence for violent B-movies verges on parody, and unlike a
stuffy collector who would treat crime novels as cultural artifacts to
be stored in the literary equivalent of a museum case, Hard Case Crime
celebrates the living energy of hard-boiled storytelling. Just as a
modern blues musician innovates within a form that privileges influence
and imitation, so does Ardai publish neo-noir fiction that's both
strongly contemporary and aesthetically connected to its forbears.
Cassuto, Ardai, George Stade and Jenny Davidson will appear together on March 25 at Columbia University as part of a panel on crime fiction sponsored by Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.