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Hardboiled: An Anthology of American Crime…
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Hardboiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories (1995)

by Bill Pronzini (Editor), Jack Adrian (Editor)

Other authors: David Alexander (Contributor), Benjamin Appel (Contributor), Lawrence Block (Contributor), Leigh Brackett (Contributor), Gil Brewer (Contributor)31 more, W. R. Burnett (Contributor), James M. Cain (Contributor), Paul Cain (Contributor), Raymond Chandler (Contributor), William Cole (Contributor), Jonathan Craig (Contributor), Norbert Davis (Contributor), H. A. DeRosso (Contributor), James Ellroy (Contributor), David Goodis (Contributor), Ed Gorman (Contributor), Brett Halliday (Contributor), Dashiell Hammett (Contributor), James Hannah (Contributor), Chester Himes (Contributor), Evan Hunter (Contributor), Faye Kellerman (Contributor), Michael Kerr (Contributor), Elmore Leonard (Contributor), John D. MacDonald (Contributor), Ross Macdonald (Contributor), Daniel Mainwaring (Contributor), Margaret Maron (Contributor), Frederick Nebel (Contributor), Helen Nielsen (Contributor), James M. Reasoner (Contributor), Robert Sampson (Contributor), Mickey Spillane (Contributor), Jim Thompson (Contributor), Andrew Vachss (Contributor), Raoul Whitfield (Contributor)

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Short story collection from the 1920s through the 1990s. Strongest material is through the 60s, after which the stories tend towards failed caricature. ( )
  encephalical | Nov 1, 2018 |
One of the better anthologies of pulp crime stories, and an ideal starting point for newcomers to the genre. No single collection can be definitive, of course, but this one features nearly all of the big names--Hammett, Whitfield, Chandler, Spillane, Ross Macdonald--as well as genuinely obscure authors like William Cole (which, co-compiler Adrian suggests, might have been a pseudonym of Black Mask editor Fanny Ellsworth). While most readers will be happy to hear that this volume doesn't oblige them to plod through a Carroll John Daly tale, something by the fantastic, underrated John K. Butler (author of Dime Detective's Steve Midnight stories) would have been a welcome addition to the thirty-six pieces collected here. Expendable, in my view, are Daniel Mainwaring's Depression-era tragedy "Fruit Tramp" and Elmore Leonard's straight Western "Three-Ten to Yuma". Each is a fine example of the art of the short story; neither fits the hardboiled mode.

The stories are grouped by decade, with the 1930s being far and away the most fruitful period for the brand of terse, rough-and-tumble detective story which is generally associated with the term "hardboiled". As the editors progress into the mid-1950s the old-fashioned private eyes begin to disappear, supplanted by the dreary amorality of noir. A few of these stories are okay (the Jim Thompson selection is pretty damned good, in fact), but noir and hardboiled are not synonymous. These later tales have a different flavor, and their aimless, destructive nastiness is not to my liking.

Standouts: Hammett's "The Scorched Face", Whitfield's "Mistral" (arguably the best story in the book, and quite a departure from the author's usual cornball fare), Norbert Davis's "Who Said I Was Dead?", Macdonald's "Guilt-Edged Blonde" and Thompson's "Forever After". ( )
  Jonathan_M | Jul 27, 2016 |
Hard-Boiled contains mystery short stories from the 1920s through the 1990s. While I picked it up primarily to read the pulps from the 1920s - 1940s, I figured I'd read the rest while I'm at it. Bill Pronzini has edited several books of mysteries and knows what he's doing.

For the most part, Hard-Boiled reinforced what I already knew--I like the pulp mysteries the best. The editors included stories by such pulp luminaries as Paul Cain, Raoul Whitfield, Dashiell Hammett, Frederick Nebel and Raymond Chandler. They also included several authors I was not all that familiar with like Brett Halliday and William Cole.

In the post pulp era, the authors included were Elmore Leonard, Ross Macdonald, Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), and Lawrence Block along with unknowns (to me) Leigh Brackett, Helen Nielson and others.

I found the latter stories to be more morbid, more depressing, and less inclined to focus on atmosphere. The pulp mysteries were gritty and some had a more 'noir' feeling to them. The language in the pulps seemed to be more descriptive and thought out as well.

The editors included a little bio of each author, noting their best known works, anthologies and those that were made into films. Many of the authors had short careers, some moved into script writing and editing and some veered away from mysteries altogether.

Hard-Boiled is a well rounded anthology of crime stories and one that should be in every mystery lover's library ( )
1 vote EdGoldberg | Nov 22, 2015 |
A collection of 36 of the very best hardboiled stories filling more than 500 pages and arranged decade by decade, commencing in the 1920s and finishing up-to-date in the '90s. All of the usual suspects are present: Hammett, Chandler, Cain (both James M and Paul), Burnett representing the early years, with Goodis, Himes, Gil Brewer, Mickey Spillane, John D MacDonald, Ross Macdonald, and others standing in for the '40s and '50s. The later years are represented by the likes of Jim Thompson, Andrew Vachss, James Ellroy, Lawrence Block and Ed Gorman.

The editors are experts in their field, and an excellent feature of the book is the one- or two-page biographical overview of each author, preceding their work. The book also sports a useful long introduction by the editors which attempts to define the sub-genre of hardboiled crime fiction and to set it into proper context. In this task they succeed well, and the entire book is a delight to browse through and dip into -- to sample again the old favourites and also to learn about the lesser known. An essential buy for the lover of the hardboiled. ( )
1 vote Pitoucat | Dec 6, 2009 |
Representative stories from the beginning of the genre/form until the book's publication (1995), organized by decade. Heavy on the 1930s and 1950s. By page count, about half the book comprises what I think of as hard-boiled crime, 3/4 of which are in the first half of the book. The other stories, not so much. They're good, mostly, but hardly hard-boiled, as most people understand the term.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is evident in the introductory essay, where they spend three and a half half-assed, contradictory pages failing to describe what makes a hard-boiled crime story. They float a number of terms, some familiar to lit-crit and some not. They don't detail the application of the familiar ones to the hard-boiled story, and they don't even define the unfamiliar ones. They even seem to lump 'hard-boiled' and 'noir.' So, in the remainder of the essay, which is basically a 15-page publishing history of the genre/form/whatever (they use both words, apparently interchangeably), when they say that this author or that period expanded the definition or broadened the genre/form/whatever, I was left wondering, WTF? Because as far as I can tell, most of the later (mid-1950s on) stories that are included can only be included if one uses a (to my mind) overly broad definition of hard-boiled, which they do, but they never tell you what their definition is. They just paste on the hard-boiled label to suit themselves. All of this is particularly ironic given their complaint in the first paragraph of the intro essay about the misuse and misunderstanding of the hard-boiled label and genre/form/whatever.

In summary: good stories, bad anthologizing. ( )
1 vote drbubbles | Feb 26, 2009 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pronzini, BillEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adrian, JackEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexander, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appel, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Block, LawrenceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brackett, LeighContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brewer, GilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burnett, W. R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cain, James M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cain, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chandler, RaymondContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cole, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craig, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, NorbertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DeRosso, H. A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellroy, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodis, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorman, EdContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Halliday, BrettContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hammett, DashiellContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hannah, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Himes, ChesterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunter, EvanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellerman, FayeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kerr, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leonard, ElmoreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacDonald, John D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Macdonald, RossContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mainwaring, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maron, MargaretContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nebel, FrederickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, HelenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reasoner, James M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sampson, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spillane, MickeyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thompson, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vachss, AndrewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whitfield, RaoulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This collection contains the following stories:

The Scorched Face - Dashiell Hammett
Round Trip - W. R. Burnett
Mistral - Raoul Whitfield
Backwash - Frederick Nebel
Trouble-Chaser - Paul Cain
Fruit Tramp - Daniel Mainwaring
Brush Fire - James M. Cain
Human Interest Stuff - Brett Halliday
Waiting for Rusty - William Cole
I'll Be Waiting - Raymond Chandler
Marijuana and a Pistol - Chester Himes
Who Said I Was Dead? - Norbert Davis
Nor Iron Bars - John D. MacDonald
Dock Walloper - Benjamin Appel
Three-Ten to Yuma - Elmore Leonard
The Bobby-Soxer - Jonathan Craig
Black Pudding - David Goodis
Guilt-Edged Blonde - Ross Macdonald
Mama's Boy - David Alexander
The Screen Test of Mike Hammer - Mickey Spillane
Home - Gil Brewer
So Pale So Cold So Fair - Leigh Brackett
A Piece of Ground - Helen Nielsen
The Merry, Merry Christmas - Evan Hunter
Forever After - Jim Thompson
The Old Pro - H. A. DeRosso
The Saturday Night Deaths - Michael Kerr
Graveyard Shift - James M. Reasoner
Deadhead Coming Down - Margaret Maron
To Florida - Robert Sampson
It's a Hard World - Andrew Vachss
Junior Jackson’s Parable - James Hannah
Bonding - Faye Kellerman
Gravy Train - James Ellroy
Batman's Helpers - Lawrence Block
The Long Silence After - Ed Gorman
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019510353X, Paperback)

What are the ingredients of a hard-boiled detective story? "Savagery, style, sophistication, sleuthing and sex," said Ellery Queen. Often a desperate blond, a jealous husband, and, of course, a tough-but-tender P.I. the likes of Sam Spade or Philop Marlowe. Perhaps Raymond Chandler summed it up best in his description of Dashiell Hammett's style: "Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it....He put these people down on paper as they were, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used for these purposes."

Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories is the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind, with over half of the stories never published before in book form. Included are thirty-six sublimely suspenseful stories that chronicle the evolutiuon of this quintessentially American art form, from its earliest beginnings during the Golden Age of the legendary pulp magazine Black Mask in the 1920s, to the arrival of the tough digest Manhunt in the 1950s, and finally leading up to present-day hard-boiled stories by such writers as James Ellroy. Here are eight decades worth of the best writing about betrayal, murder, and mayhem: from Hammett's 1925 tour de force "The Scorched Face," in which the disappearance of two sisters leads Hammett's never-named detective, the Continental Op, straight into a web of sexual blackmail amidst the West Coast elite, to Ed Gorman's 1992 "The Long Silence After," a gripping and powerful rendezvous involving a middle class insurance executive, a Chicago streetwalker, and a loaded .38. Other delectable contributions include "Brush Fire" by James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Raymond Chandler's "I'll Be Waiting," where, for once, the femme fatale is not blond but a redhead, a Ross Macdonald mystery starring Macdonald's most famous creation, the cryptic Lew Archer, and "The Screen Test of Mike Hammer" by the one and only Micky Spillane. The hard-boiled cult has more in common with the legendary lawmen of the Wild West than with the gentleman and lady sleuths of traditional drawing room mysteries, and this direct line of descent is on brilliant display in two of the most subtle and tautly written stories in the collection, Elmore Leonard's "3:10 to Yuma" and John D. MacDonald's "Nor Iron Bars." Other contributors include Evan Hunter (better known as Ed McBain), Jim Thompson, Helen Nielsen, Margaret Maron, Andrew Vachss, Faye Kellerman, and Lawrence Block.

Compellingly and compulsively readable, Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories is a page-turner no mystery lover will want to be without. Containing many notable rarities, it celebrates a genre that has profoundly shaped not only American literature and film, but how we see our heroes and oursleves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:47 -0400)

Comprehensive volume offers thirty-six detective stories, by such writers as Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Elmore Leonard and Faye Kellerman.

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