Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Paperback Confidential - Brian Ritt
I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of this book and thought it was wonderful, but now I've been going through the actual book and I have to say, it's even better. For one thing, there are photos of most of the authors covered in the incisive profiles by Brian Ritt, and while some of them are pictures that you've probably seen before, many of them aren't. Do you know what Edward S. Aarons looked like? I didn't, but I do now. And fittingly enough, he bears a resemblance to how I've always pictured Sam Durell. Others were more surprising, as some of the authors of really tough fiction don't look anything at all like the two-fisted brawlers that their characters are.
But the best parts of this book are still the perceptive comments of Brian Ritt and the excellent lists of books and pseudonyms. As others have said, I would have loved to have a copy of PAPERBACK CONFIDENTIAL on hand as I browsed through all the used bookstores I used to haunt in the Seventies and Eighties. This is the best book of its sort since the classic HARDBOILED AMERICA. I think I've read the whole thing a couple of times already just from picking it up to browse through it for a few minutes and then reading or rereading big chunks of it.
If you have any interest at all in vintage paperbacks or hardboiled crime fiction, you really can't afford to be without this book. It's funny, it's poignant, it's informative, and it's hugely entertaining. Brian Ritt's PAPERBACK CONFIDENTIAL gets the highest possible recommendation from me, and I'm sure it'll be on my top ten list at the end of the year.