[Reading] ➿ The Black Mask Boys: Masters in the Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction Author William F. Nolan – Dolove.info

The Black Mask Boys: Masters in the Hard-Boiled School of Detective Fiction Stories included Three Gun Terry 1923 by Carroll John Daly Bodies Piled Up 1923 by Dashiell Hammett Hell s Kettle 1930 by Erle Stanley Gardner Sal the Dude 1929 by Raoul Whitfield Rough Justice 1930 by Frederick Nebel Frost Flies Alone original title Frost Rides Alone 1930 by Horace McCoy Gundown original title Murder Done in Blue 1933 by Paul Cain and Blackmailers Don t Shoot 1933 by Raymond Chandler.William F Nolan gathers eight representative stories from Black Mask s heavy hitters and seasons the mix with a history of the magazine, biographical overviews of the writers, and bibliographies of their work for Black Mask Unfortunately, by almost any critical yardstick, Black Mask fiction is pretty bad Joseph T Shaw, who edited the magazine during its glory years, was interested in good writing, but he wasinterested in series characters who would build and keep a base of loyal readers Thus, the many, many appearances of Carroll John Daly s Race Williams, whom even Shaw knew to be terrible On the whole, the best story here no surprise is Dashiell Hammett s Bodies Piled Up, which manages to be brilliant even if it doesn t add up to much as a story And this is the perspective from which Black Mask fiction is best enjoyed as collections of moments rather than as unified narratives Approached in this way, even Carroll John Daly s Three Gun Terry the world s first hard boiled detective story can be fun. Good introduction to the Black Mask era of hardboiled writers. The non fiction parts were pretty good, especially the actual history of the pulp Black Mask The fiction, well, I d already read the pieces by Hammett and Chandler, and the others involve series characters from the days of the magazine, and I didn t really care But, like I said, the non fiction parts were good I really appreciated reading about Horace McCoy. This book is a general collection of hard boiled stories from Black Mask, from the 30 s, to the end of the magazine, Starting in chronological order with Carrol John Daly and ending with Raymond Chandler Each author gets a biography and a representative short story, with an included history of Black Mask magazine I originally bought this book for one reason to read Carrol John Daly s story Three Gun Terry, now well known as the first Hard Boiled PI story But I ended up sticking with the book and reading it to the end out of the pure quality of the work elsewhere The first, and clearest benefit of reading this book is the pure passion and the intense research that the author William F Nolan has put into the biographies and the general history of Black Mask The stories were very well selected, and Nolan made sure not only to get a great one that represented the best of an author, but also to get one that was also completely unprinted elsewhere I m not sure if that s true across the board considering the book was published in the 80 s and I d think Hammett s Continental Op story, and Chandlers Mallory story have both appeared elsewhere , I could imagine for some other obscure authors that could still be true My personal favorite stories came from Carrol John Daly, Raoul Whitfield, and Raymond Chandler I very much enjoyed this book, not only as a great collection of representative short stories, or as a great mini biography of many interesting authors, but also as an introduction to Black Mask and many of the pulps from the 30 s and 40 s. Great collection of pulp noir writers pulled together by a very good word wrangler himself with some interesting things to say in introductions et al. Classics, part of the must read mystery canon. 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About the Author: William F. Nolan

William F Nolan is best known as the co author with George Clayton Johnson of Logan s Run a science fiction novel that went on to become a movie, a television series and is about to become a movie again and as single author of its sequels His short stories have been selected for scores of anthologies and textbooks and he is twice winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award from the Myste


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