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You Only Live Twice: Discovering Donald Westlake’s Lost James Bond Novel
Charles Ardai
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Jun 13 2017 2:00pm

You Only Live Twice: Discovering Donald Westlake’s Lost James Bond Novel

Donald E. Westlake once told me, “The difference between in print and out of print is precisely the difference between life and death.” He was alive when he said this, obviously; he was referring to the project we’d undertaken together to bring some of his more obscure early titles back into print. But I was reminded of it when I got the terrible news on New Year’s Day 2009 that Don had died of a heart attack while on vacation in Mexico. Life and death. I could keep him in print, but I couldn’t bring my friend back. What sort of life would that be? There would be no more new Westlake—only the old. 

[Or would there...]

Jun 4 2013 8:45am

The Carny Novel Calls. Lucky Thing It Also Emails.

Limited Edition cover for Stephen King's Joyland by artist Robert McGinnisWhat is a carny novel? At its simplest it’s a book set in the midways and tents of a traveling carnival, which isn’t quite the same as (but is a close cousin to) a circus, a medicine show, a freakshow, a county fair, or an amusement park.  There are rides and concessions and games of skill and of chance (all of course rigged to ensure that you lose); there are haunted houses and tunnels of love, fortune tellers and strongmen, pretty girls in spangles and slick-tongued fellows in straw boaters and arm garters, barking a spiel to get you into the tents.  There’s the secret language that carnies speak so that only other carnies know what they’re saying. And there’s the vagabond life, perfect for ex-cons and fugitives and other lost souls not quite suited to life inside the boundaries of white-picket-fence America. I’ve wanted to publish a carny novel from day one – but the trick was finding a great one, and I just didn’t seem to be able to.

[Step right up and try your (bad) luck...]

Sep 2 2011 5:00pm

Pulp in the Wild: Fans Take a Little Off the Top

Even when it’s sweltering, pulp fans are connoisseurs of coolness.

In the heat of summer, you might take your favorite summer reading to the beach – if you lived in California, Hawaii, or the south of France.  If you’re in the middle of New York City, though, beaches are hard to come by, even when the mercury climbs into the 90s. The solution? For some dedicated fans of pulp crime fiction, it’s carrying their favorite paperbacks to one of the city’s public parks and enjoying them as if they were in the south of France – the no-tan-lines way.

(Note from Crime HQ—We find these pictures more saucy than explicit—good, clean, literate fun among charming readers.  If your tastes are different, you’ll probably prefer later Pulp in the Wild posts.  We’ll happily feature pulp aficionados however they roam, whether in monks’ cowls, hazmat suits, or full Bigfoot costumes, so stay tuned! And submit your own location shots of where and how you’re reading your crime paperbacks to:
pulpinthewild [at] gmail-dot-com )

[I LIKE my Labor Day BBQ a little saucy!]

Apr 25 2011 10:00am

From the “Hard Case” Files: Pursuing Pulp’s Heroes

Fifty-to-One by Charles ArdaiBack in 2004, Max Phillips and I launched a labor-of-love project we called Hard Case Crime, intended to revive the style of the great old paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s.  

We thought it might, if we were lucky, last a half dozen titles before people stopped humoring us.  Last August, we published our 66th title—go figure. 

Along the way, we found ourselves drawn into investigations not all that different from those facing the characters beneath our covers.

[Pulpify me. . .]