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HARD-BOILED by Bill Pronzini


An Anthology of American Crime Stories

edited by Bill Pronzini & Jack Adrian

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-19-508499-3
Publisher: Oxford Univ.

 Even though all 36 stories here are reprints, this anthology is notable, and highly desirable, for several reasons. The editors have chosen stories from the 1920's, the earliest days of Black Mask, to the 1990's; by keeping the contributors down to one story apiece, they've been able to include seldom-seen gems by the likes of Daniel Mainwaring, William Cole, David Goodis, and Jim Thompson; and even the obligatory contributors are often represented by surprising choices (apart from the inescapable selections by Hammett, Chandler, and Ross Macdonald, there are offbeat entries by Elmore Leonard and Margaret Maron, and even a Mickey Spillane novelty). The main revelation of the volume's chronological arrangement is to show how much better written the later stories are, without any loss of toughness (vide the evidence of Faye Kellerman and Ed Gorman). The best-balanced, best-edited selection available today. No matter how long your shelf of hard-boiled anthologies, you'll want this one.