28 July 2010

The new Hard Case is here, the new Hard Case is here!

I've spent a bit of time on this blog talking about Hard Case Crime. No. 66 showed up in the mail today: Murder is My Business by Brett Halliday. It is from 1945 and features private eye Mike Shayne. The cover is by one of the most recognizable of illustrators, Robert McGinnis. You know his work from movie posters like Barbarella and Thunderball. He obviously has a thing for deathly pale, freakishly long-limbed women, as we see one on nine of his ten covers for the line. (I'm a Glenn Orbik man, myself.) As much as I've enjoyed reading and collecting the series, I must admit that the quality has been disappointing. Many of the reprints, even the modern ones, were dull and dated reads. Contemporary novelists like Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Christa Faust, and Allan Guthrie all produced good stuff, and old-schoolers Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake were always worth a look, but overall the set is a bit of a letdown. I'd like to see more new writers and more 21st-century noir. The reprints are a nice history lesson, but there are too many. The cover art has been a lot of fun--I've half a wall devoted to it in my parlor and it looks damn good. (The lineup can be seen in thumbnail here.) Here's what came today:

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