23 August 2008

Maybe a dozen

That's how many of the Hard Case Crime series are new originals. There's been Richard Aleas' two, Bruen & Starr's three, the Christa Faust, the Stephen King, some Max Allan Collins, Allan Guthrie, and Russell Hill. The rest, unless I missed one, are reprints of older novels. Fine by me, I enjoy much of the work of the "old masters," especially Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake. It makes me wonder if classic noir is just that--classic. The style, tone, pace and "vibe" of those tough, hard-hitting crime and punishment stories appeal to me, and I like it when 21st century writers pull off something like them in 21st century settings. It proves that noir isn't dead, just under new managment. Robbie's Wife shows us that the New School produces great fiction as well. There's a bit of a bio for Russell Hill on the Amazon page for the book. Otherwise I can't seem to find much about him. Regardless, the book is a slow, meandering starter, and a strong, pulse-pounding finisher. It is subtle in its use of violence, relying on psychological suspense and character development instead. I found it to be one of the best of the bunch. It takes place in England in 2001, the very summer of our first trip there. Mr. Hill sets you in the middle of Devon farm country, lulls you into a what seems a simple melodrama, then pulls the rug out in neat bait-and-switch. Then you're hooked. A fine read, I hope we get more from our mysterious author.


Anonymous said...

You missed Domenic Stansberry's Edgar-winning THE CONFESSION and Max Phillips' Shamus-winning FADE TO BLONDE. Also, Mickey Spillane's DEAD STREET. And the never-before-published David Dodge novel, THE LAST MATCH. And Peter Pavia's DUTCH UNCLE and Seymour Shubin's WITNESS TO MYSELF. Possibly some more, too. There have been more than you think.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm glad you pointed that out. I read all of those, too! I was hasty in my post. I didn't go back and look over the collection thoroughly. I'd just finished the latest set, the Bloch, Westlake, Rifkin, and Fisher, nos. 42-45, reprints all. So I suppose I had "oldies" on the brain.