Old pulp paperbacks fetch a handsome price on the antique market. It’s no wonder why; they feature artwork that incorporates everything good and pure about American culture—namely saucy dames, square-jawed men, brutal violence and raunchy sex. Even if you can’t throw down the cake for a vintage copy of Faulkner’s The Sanctuary, you can get the latest releases from Hard Case Crime, a retro fiction imprint with books you can judge by their covers. Check out some of our favorites on the following pages.
The basis of the SyFy series Haven, this Stephen King tome hearkens back to Graham Greene and The Maltese Falcon. As this is Stephen King we’re talking about, look for a little more than what meets the eye in this tale of murder in a small Maine town.
From Max Allan Collins, former Dick Tracy scribe, author of the original Road to Perdition and the most prolific writer you’ve never heard of, comes this tale of Quarry, professional killer. Enter the world of the hardboiled novel where principles trump morals.
A classic from the Golden Age of Noir, Hard Case Crime published Grave Descend for the first time in 30 years. Strange things are afoot off the coast of Jamaica as professional diver James McGregor investigates the wreck of a luxury yacht.
Unpublished for 40 years, The Vengeful Virgin is a variation on the classic young-girl-hates-her-life-and-teams-up-with-sociopath-to-change-it theme. This novel is a time machine back to a world of dames, fellas and plot twists galore.
A sequel to Little Girl Lost, Songs of Innocence is the continuing story of John Blake, detective. Blake returns to investigate the alleged suicide of a pretty young college student. Things are far from what they seem, and Blake is sucked into the dangers of the underworld.
Christa Faust is a rising star in the world of crime fiction. Money Shot tells the story of Angel Dare, a porn star called upon to do one last skinflick. Instead of screwing, however, she’s dodging bullets as a prelude to enacting her revenge one man at a time.
Another one from the vaults, Zero Cool went 30 years without publication before Hard Case picked it up. Peter Ross is just your average American doctor, drawn into gangster war by a pretty woman on a Spanish beach.
A working-class North By Northwest, this book tells the tale of cabbie Chet Conway, who gets drawn into the underworld after a hot tip on a horse leaves his bookie dead. Now the cops, the mob and the bookie’s beautiful sister are all hot on his trail. Author Donald E. Westlake was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on The Grifters.
The Max isn’t your typical crime novel. It combines sleaze and irreverence into an unholy combination of hardboiled and burlesque sensibilities. Check out the inside of Attica and a Greek prison on the Island of Lesbos in this thriller Entertainment Weekly called a “good, mean book.”
Back in the day, most pulp novels weren’t published by literary aficionados. They were published by businessmen looking to make a quick buck and not much caring where it came from. Fifty-to-One by Hard Case guru Charles Ardai shows just such a publisher thrown into the rough world he only previously read and wrote about.
A showgirl drops dead in the middle of her show. Written by Jonny Porkpie, the so-called “Burlesque Mayor of New York City,” this novel will give you an inside look at the sleazy world of contemporary burlesque.
Out of print for 20 years, Murder Is My Business tells the story of Mike Shayne confronting ghosts from the past he thought were long since buried. Shayne might just be the most popular-yet-unknown fictional detective ever, starring in more than 70 novels, a television series, several radio dramas and comic books and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.
Sex and violence meet in what has been called the filthiest book in 40 years. Kit (or any of the other phony names she gives her victims) loves sex… and murder. The first hardcover novel released by Hard Case Crime features crime fiction master Lawrence Block revisiting his Jill Emerson pseudonym to pen a page-turner you won’t be able to put down as you watch Kit cross every man she’s ever laid off the face of the earth.
The cops think he has a cool $40 million, but Morgan the Raider only has $75,000. A group of Cuban exiles are counting on the money, which gets stolen by a trusted ally. Now it’s up to Morgan to get the money back as the body count mounts.
The further adventures of Angel Dare, Choke Hold picks up Angel’s story after her revenge-killing spree lands her in Witness Protection. When her former co-star falls to a hail of bullets, it’s up to Angel to get his son, a professional cagefighter, safely through the desert, Mexican border towns and Las Vegas. The perfect novel for fans of crime fiction and MMA.