Compellingly and compulsively readable, Hardboiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories is a page-turner no mystery lover will want to be without. Included are thirty-six superbly suspenseful stories that chronicle the evolution 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" to Ed Gorman's 1992 "The Long Silence After." Other contributors include Evan Hunter (better known as Ed McBain), Paul Cain, Norbert Davis, Jim Thompson, Helen Nielsen, Margaret Maron, Andrew Vachss, Faye Kellerman, and Lawrence Block.
Containing many notable rarities, Hardboiled celebrates a genre that has profoundly shaped not only American literature and film, but how we see our heroes and ourselves.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Top Notch Hard-Boiled Anthology, January 11, 2002 Reviewer: Brian D. Rubendall from Oakton, VA "Hard Boiled" is an absolutely first rate collection of short stories by some of the best AND least known writers of the genre. One of its two editors, Bill Pronzini, is an avid collector of the old Pulp magazines as well as being one of the best hard-boiled writers working today (he's the author of the excellent "Nameless" detective series). He and co-editor Jack Adrian really know their stuff, as they show with an extensive introduction that explains in detail the history of the genre. They also provide good introductions for each individual writer, both the famous and the not-so famous, to give the reader a good perspective of where each author was coming from. The stories themselves are grouped by the decade in which they were published. The 1930s and 1950s are the most heavily represented because, the editors explain, they were the peak decades for hard-boiled fiction in terms of both poularity and quality. The book covers the 1920s to the 1990s. Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone who enjoys good crime stories.