If you’re a fan of pulp era crime fiction, especially the gritty and hard-boiled sort that shot and slugged its way through the pages of Black Mask — home base for Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler — the flood gate is about to open.
Each and every month the plan is to release a new collection of tales from The Mask, vintage stories that haven’t been available for over half a century. You want pulp — and you’ve got an e-reader — then pulp you can get.
First big book up is an omnibus of the complete Jerry Tracy yarns from Black Mask, written by Ted Tinsley — as Evan Lewis notes on his blog today, famed as one of the writers who would on occasion come in and pinch hit for Walter Gibson with a new adventure for The Shadow pulp, all written under the house name Maxwell Grant. Gibson did most of those, but that new-novel-every-two-weeks schedule sometimes got to be too much even for him.
I think Tinsley had a handle on that whole Pulp Thrills angle.
If they round up a series every month, in no time at all you’ll have a huge chunk of Black Mask revived and rediscovered, at a fraction of the cost of acquiring the original wood pulp magazine. (As I mentioned in my report on PulpFest, sure, I have met a couple of guys who put together complete runs of The Mask, but they are not legion.)
Maybe sooner than later they’ll get around to one of my favorite writers who did some time in Black Mask, Eugene Cunningham — because he appeared in those same pages and knew what was going down, Cunningham gave Hammett some of his earliest major newspaper reviews. Better known as a western writer, today Cunningham probably is most famed as the author of the non-fiction book on gunfighters, Triggernometry — one of the items found in the Robert E. Howard library. And at the end of his life he lived in San Francisco, out near Cliff House.
Yeah, some Eugene Cunningham, please.