Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Black Friday - Under the Microscope
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.