Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pete Is A Hard Case Fan

I recently read an article in the November 2013 issue of Juxtapoz magazine that focused on  cover art for Hard Case Crime, a publishing house devoted to pulp fiction from past to present. I'd already read and enjoyed one of their titles, Joyland by Stephen King, and was happy to see that particular cover included in the feature.

Another cover that caught my eye was The Secret Lives of Married Women by Elissa Wald. This novel concerns the lives of two sisters, one sister with a libertine past that included an acting job in a soft-core porn film, and the other sister a repressed attorney mortified by her sister's behavior but perhaps secretly craving it as well. I like pulp fiction because the cover art promises some sort of danger and excitement, and the stories inside usually deliver and then some. This one was no exception.

Another Hard Case Crime novel I recently finished was The Cocktail Waitress by James Cain. This one is a long lost but recently found work by the author who wrote such notable books as The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity. All of these titles were made into memorable feature films starring such luminaries as Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Jack Nicholson, and more recently Kate Winslet.

The cocktail waitress is Joan Medford, a penniless young widow who takes a job at a local watering hole out of desperation. Joan relies on considerable street smarts, pluck, and even her body in order to carve out a life for herself, and also in hopes of regaining custody of her toddler son. She makes some good decisions, some bad decisions, but always keeps her eyes on the prize. She'll either become a very rich young lady, or find herself facing execution having left a few bodies in her wake. One thing's for sure, there's never a dull moment in the life of The Cocktail Waitress.


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