Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stark House and Benjamin Appel

On his blog tonight, Bill Crider is nice enough give readers a preview of the next Stark House book, a double volume of Brain Guy and Plunder by Benjamin Appel.

Getting this to market was no easy task. Bill Pronzini had reprinted Appel in one or maybe two of his anthologies. Appel's daughter then wrote to Bill asking if there might be anybody interested in bringing some of her father's novels out again. Brain Guy was one of the most influential tough guy novels of its era, though from the reviews I've seen, I think it was a bigger hit with the literary critics than with genre ones. It works as both pop entertainment and "serious" fiction, whatever that may mean.

Bill asked me if Carla could write me and I said sure. Three different publishers later, Appel is back in print. One publisher folded, the other said he could publish it in 2008. So I took it to Stark House and here we are.

Very interesting contrast between the two novels. The first was a hard back from a prestigious house, the second is a Gold Medal original. Appel was a working writer for several decades and appeared in a variety of magazines and book formats. A few of his novels did well in book clubs.

He was an intense, powerful writer with a real sense of rackets and racekteers of all kinds. He had W.R. Burnett's ability to bring real nuance to characters and scenes that dozens of other writers had used only as cliches. I hope this double volume brings him the recognition he deserves.

Carla asked if she could write an introduction. Greg Shepard of Stark House said of course. She said she wasn't really a writer but thought the family would appreciate it. She is, in fact, a graceful and supple writer who gives us a realistic but tender portrait of what it's like to have your pop around the house all day when other pops are potin the real world getting yelled at by bosses.

1 Comments:

Blogger mtmorgan said...

I really didn't like BRAIN GUY at all. But I thought PLUNDER was excellent. BRAIN GUY reads choppy, weird and obsessive. PLUNDER is an excellent, prototypical GM. Hard to believe they are written by the same dude.

5:01 PM  

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