Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Black Friday - Under the Microscope

Black Friday

Do you pay attention to publisher's imprints and labels? I admit, I do. Part of it, I think, is a hangover from owning a bookstore, but even as a kid I remember looking at the spines of books, remember who printed what. The classics I read with a penguin on the orange spine (Watership Down). All the fantasy novels with a big TOR on the spine.

One of the imprints I take note of now is Black Lizard. It was an independent label at one point, publishing classic noir and crime, and was then taken over by Vintage as its Vintage Crime label. The mandate is still the same: republish great crime and noir novels.

Black Friday, by David Goodis, fits this perfectly. This was probably considered pulp when it was first written, but this noir novel is well written, and while it's full of rough characters and crimes and swindles, the game is more a psychological one than a caper. A man stumbles into a situation above his head: a murder, stolen money, and a gang of crooks. And there is only one way out: to become one of the gang. If they don't kill him first.


Matthew MacNish said...

I think we've discussed this before. As a former record-label co-owner who paid a lot of attention to (music) imprints, I'm amazed I don't care more about who publishes what. And it's not like my music tastes are any more specific than my reading ones. I'm pretty picky with both.

Steve Abernathy said...

Love Black Friday and Lizard and Goodis.

If you ever get to the Bay Area, SF's Green Apple Books sells most all the Lizard pb's for 5 or 6 bucks each, used. I've got all the Goodis and Jim Thompson they published.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Matt

I think for a lot of publishers it doesn't really matter, as there is no cohesiveness to them. But there are some great imprints that seem to have a vision and a sense of what they want to provide. These ones, to me, are worth checking out and paying attention to.

Bryan Russell said...

@ Steve

Man, would I love to see San Francisco. It's the top American city I'd love to visit.

And Thompson is someone I've never read, but I have on my wishlist. I've heard great things about him.

Donna Hole said...

Now this totally sounds like my kind of book. And, I do actually look at imprints. I guess I can be swayed to like a mediocre sounding novel by seeing who published it. Tor being a shoe in.