This year showed the true importance of reissues. By bringing books that haven’t seen new publication in decades or giving a book its first US printing, many of these books got people talking about how they had to look at the history of the genre and what was truly influential. Below you’ll find a mix of books we’d been dying to see back in print, and made us rethink which classic crime writers may have deserved more credit than they got.
Scott’s Top Reissues of 2015
1. GBH by Ted Lewis
Through time shifts between past and present we watch a blue movie king lose his empire and piece together the plot that betrayed him. Hard boiled to the core with imminent violence dangling like a guillotine above the story, Syndicate Books stateside release of this novel should send this into the classic pantheon.
2. Women Crime Writers Of The 40s And 50s edited by Sarah Weinman
By showcasing lesser known authors like Margaret Millar and the almost forgotten names of Charlotte Armstrong, Dolores Hitchens, and Helen Eustis, this two volume collection of eight domestic suspense novels makes us completely reevaluate the history of postwar crime fiction. If that’s not enough, there also damn entertaining.
3. The Archer Files edited by Tom Nolan
For Ross Macdonald’s 100th birthday, Vintage Black Lizard re-released this complete collection of all his private eye short stories, including unfinished work. Nolan even draws up a biography of his famed detective. It’s an engaging overview of character and creator.
4. Quarry by Max Allan Collins
I’d been wanting to read this for years and it didn’t disappoint. Hard Case Crime is releasing the first five books featuring Collins’ hard-boiled hit man, starting with this novel that introduces him as he’s double crossed in middle America. A classic tough guy crime novel with a seventies spin.
Molly’s Top Reissues of 2015
1. Innocence, or Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius Kovály, tr. by Alex Zucker
Kovály held off publishing this masterpiece of Soviet noir till after the Velvet Revolution to ensure the safety of her friends and family back home. Now, thanks to Alex Zucker’s excellent translation, we can read her Chandleresque exploration into the dark days of 1950s Prague for the first time.
2. Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 40s & 50s edited by Sarah Weinman
This collection of suspense and noir from the mid-20th-century’s greatest female crime writers brings long-lost classics back into print in an impeccably curated edition. Each book corresponds to an essay on the collection’s companion website. The women in this collection, if not for their gender pushing them out of the print cycle, would have long been considered at the pinnacle of the genre. It’s time to explore the classics of the genre through this beautiful Library of America collection, or explore each decade separately – each volume is available for individual purchase, as well as in a boxed set.
3. Shetani’s Sister by Iceberg Slim
Lost for decades, and now available in its first publication, Iceberg Slim’s Shetani’s Sister takes a more complicated attitude toward women than much of his previous work (or so the introduction told me; this is my first of Slim’s novels to read) and hones his street slang to passionate precision. Beautiful and brutal, polished and profane, Shetani’s Sister walks a tightrope between porn, pulp, and poetry.
4. Blood Brothers by Ernst Haffner, tr. by Michael Hofmann
Ernst Hoffman, a social worker, published Blood Brothers to great acclaim in Germany, just before Hitler’s rise to power. Hoffman subsequently disappeared during the war, and Blood Brothers, banned by the Nazis, faded to obscurity. Now, thanks to Other Press, you can read this forgotten classic of Berlin street life during the Weimar Republic.
You can find copies of the above mentioned volumes on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.