Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pulp Friction II

I've been following Hard Case Crime since it launched, and not too many weeks ago, I was able to take advantage of a free copy of the forthcoming 361 by Donald E. Westlake. (Thanks, Charles!)

What a read! This is the first domestic paperback edition of a novel originally published in 1962. A man is let loose on the city of New York -- wonderful use of real-world street corners and place names -- from the Air Force and proceeds to reconnect with his brother... and find a man who may be his "long-lost" father. That relationship pulls him into a world shades of a latter-day Al Capone.

Satisfyingly hard boiled, the book is a breezy read but contains enough corners that you're kept guessing throughout. And the ending is quite nice. Solid.

Two things, however. One, what does "361" mean? And two, I wonder whether Hard Case could better delineate what they're reprinting... and what the new, perhaps commissioned work is? The cover design sensibility is the same for each sub-line, as is the editorial sensibility, and I'd like to be better able to tell what's old... and what's new again.

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