This was a great year for publishers bringing back classics into print. It’s important to keep legacy publishing going, to inspire writers and readers alike. Here are eight books brought back into print this year that are well worth your time today.
Molly’s Top Four Reissues
1. Laidlaw by Ian McIlvanney
When Ian McIlvanney took some time off writing poetry in the 1970s to write the Detective Laidlaw trilogy, he had no idea that he was quietly creating the genre of Scottish Noir, or as some like to refer to it, Tartan Noir. Europa Editions reissued the first and second volumes of the DI Laidlaw Trilogy this year – Laidlaw and The Papers of Tony Veitch – and the third volume, Strange Loyalties, is due out April 2015. In a city as grey and dismal as Edinburgh, especially in the 1970s, it should be no surprise that Detective Inspector Laidlaw is about as noir as it gets.
2. Borderline by Lawrence Block
Lawrence Block is one of the most prolific and admired authors writing today, and after a 60-year career, Mr. Block has quite a few novels to bring back into print. Borderline, a relic of the porn paperback industry, was initially published in the 1950s, and what read as salacious at that time now reads as coy and clever. Borderline takes place in El Paso and Juarez as several desperate characters, including a serial killer, collide in a murderous take on the Beatnik experience.
3. The Mad and the Bad, by Jean-Patrick Manchette
This classic, crazed French noir, originally written in the 1970s,and now reissued through New York Review of Books, stars a spoiled heir, a suspicious red-headed uncle, a nanny recently released from the mental ward, and a professional killer suffering from ulcers, all with a severe penchant for violence. Follow the nanny and the heir as they are kidnapped by the professional killer, and be rewarded with the most violent road trip across France since the D-Day invasion. The novel’s ending is explosive and stylish, reminiscent of the recent film Hanna in the fairy-tale setting of its final showdown.
4. GB84 by David Peace
Originally released in 2004, and never before published in the United States, possibly because of its radical politics, GB84 is David Peace’s epic and intense depiction of the 1984 Coal Miners’ Strike in Great Britain. Through shifting perspectives and shadowy goings on, lurking Special Branch agents and striking miners beaten by police, Peace merges history and crime novel to create a portrait of Margaret Thatcher’s England more Orwellian than even George Orwell could have imagined.
Scott’s Top Four Reissues
1. Get Carter (AKA) Jack’s Trip Back by Ted Lewis
Syndicate Books kicked off their publishing enterprise earlier this year with Ted Lewis’ trilogy featuring cold to the bone London mob enforcer Jack Carter. In this first book, Carter is in full ruthless form, returning to his Northern England home town to hunt down the folks who killed his brother.
2. Pop 1280 by Jim Thompson
Mulholland books have reprinted almost all of Jim Thompson’s work with elegant new covers, with many having introductions by famed authors. Daniel Woodrell introduces this violent and satiric tale of a crooked sheriff in the the early 20th century American South. The book looks at race, greed, corruption, and love with a jaundiced yet inventive eye.
3. Hardcase by Dan Simmons
Mulholland also brought this hard boiled gift back in print, introducing us to Joe Kurtz, a private eye who makes Mike Hammer look like a Hardy boy. You can feel Simmons love for the genre as spins this tale of Joe setting himself back in business after a ten year prison stint, working for the mob boss who’s son he saved in the joint. The follow ups, Hard Freeze and Hard As Nails, will be out in 2015.
4. 4 Novels From The 70s by Elmore Leonard
One of our most influential authors gets the American Library treatment. This first of three volumes features 52 Pick-Up, Swag, Unknown Man #89, and The Switch. The reader can track the progress of an already seasoned writer developing a voice that would leave its mark.
You can find copies of the books listed above on our shelves or via bookpeople.com. All books listed above as forthcoming are available for pre-order on our website.