Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of vengeful virgins and corpses that wear pasties

Once in a while along comes along a book you pick up just for its cover art alone. Doesn’t often happen to me. I go for what’s in between the covers. And sometimes I don’t need to rifle through the pages. As a friend once told me, I seem to have the ability to judge a book by its covers. Yep. I do. And modesty is not one of my virtues. But coming to the point, it’s rarer still when you have an entire imprint each worth picking up for the cover art alone. And yes, Hard Case Crime happened to me some time ago. As a fan of hard boiled crime and pulp fiction, it was but natural that I check them out – books by Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Ed McBain, Max Allan Collins, what’s not to like. And one by, beleiev or not, Arthur Conan Doyle (The Valley of Fear). I do suggest you give them a look-in too, if you’re into hard-boiled crime and pulp or just like double-crossing, dangerous, skimpily clad hot women on your covers. But to be honest, some of the best books I’ve read in the Hard Case Crime series are the ones I picked up for their covers alone, and not going by the author or the plot or even the really neat by-lines that they have.

Case in point:

What a cover! The title was a bonus. C’mon it mentions nipple coverings and a dead body. What could be more pulp than that? No clue about the author who is the self-appointed ‘Burlesque Mayor of New York’ Jonny Porkpie. I really had no expectation whatsoever from the book per se, but when a book starts with a short letter to the publisher from the author (reproduced below) you know it’s gonna be a good ride.

Dear Charles,
Well, here it is, as requested, in all its obscene glory; a complete and mostly accurate of the events that led to the closing of a certain bar on Eleventh Street. I’ve played it as close to the truth as I can, but you know me; I might have throw in some slight exaggerations, the odd embellishment or two, and several completely fabricated erotic scenes. I just couldn’t resist.

In other words, it’s all true except for the stuff I lied about.

Best regards,

Know what I mean? And a good ride it was. And to labour a point, take a look at this:

Cover art that’s got the virgin mentioned in the title and a stash of cash. Pulpy! Crimey! But it turned out to be darned good read. Classic pulp crime of the double-crossing kind with a not-so-typical, yet expected twist-in-the-tail ending. Not to give away the story or play spoiler, but by the end of the second chapter, let me assure, the girl is definitely not a virgin! Though to her credit, she stays vengeful till the very end of the book, in more ways than one. But a virgin, not a chance!

So coming back to the point. Judging these books by the covers alone, they were good. And what lies n between them, even better! Check out the entire Hard Case Crime series and their awesome covers HERE. See what I told you, I can judge a book by its cover. is The Bekku awesome or is The Bekku awesome?! And no, a few paragraphs is not enough time for The Bekku to learn the subtle art of modesty.

Take a look at the complete Hard Case Crime series and their awesome covers here.

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