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The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories [Paperback]

Otto Penzler , Keith Alan Deutsch

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Book Description

Sept. 21 2010 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original
An unstoppable anthology of crime stories culled from Black Mask magazine the legendary publication that turned a pulp phenomenon into literary mainstream. 
Black Mask was the apotheosis of noir.  It was the magazine where the first hardboiled detective story, which was written by Carroll John Daly appeared.  It was the slum in which such American literary titans like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler got their start, and it was the home of stories with titles like “Murder Is Bad Luck,” “Ten Carets of Lead,” and “Drop Dead Twice.” Collected here is best of the best, the hardest of the hardboiled, and the darkest of the dark of America’s finest crime fiction. This masterpiece collection represents a high watermark of America’s underbelly. Crime writing gets no better than this.

   • Deadly Diamonds
   • Dancing Rats
   • A Prize Fighter Fighting for His Life
   • A Parrot that Wouldn’t Talk

   • Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon as it was originally published
   • Lester Dent's Luck in print for the first time

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book you could read forever Aug. 26 2012
By John Middleton - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It took me about 6 months to read this book at one story a night, its so damn big. 1100+ pages of stories out of Black Mask Magazine from 1920-1950, with an introduction or two. As a newcomer to the crime genre, this worked as a pretty good introduction to how it was: I don't know I have become a avid reader of the field, but on the other hand, I have read a heck of a lot of it just by reading this book. In fact, just to test myself upon finishing the book I started again at the beginning, and it was like reading it all over again afresh, it had been so long. In theory you could read this book over and over, I suppose.

There are some classics here - The Maltese Falcon, for one. Its the best in the book, I think, but there is a lot of other memorable stuff too. All sorts of PI fiction is here - a locked room, a "supernatural" case, murders, name it. Not all of it was to my taste, but I did enjoy a lot of it. I don't know what a genre enthusiast would get out of it, but as a newcomer it was an excellent start.

Lastly, I should say this is a big heavy book. Its not really feasible for reading on public transport - its not a Complete Calvin & Hobbes volume, but you'd have to be really really keen to successfully read this on a busy train, not to mention lugging it around all day in between.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! July 23 2011
By Johnboy1 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read both of his books, and enjoyed each one immensely. I sure hope there will be others in this series. I wasn't even born when these stories were written, but thanks to Otto Penzler, I have had the opportunity to do just that. If you like murder mysteries as much as I do, don't pass these books up (Black Lizard Big Book Of Pulps and Black Lizard Big Book Of Black Mask Stories). Together, they afford a reader many hours of immeasurable enjoyment. Please, Mr. Penzler! Give us more!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super collection for hours of good reading Dec 31 2011
By Pard - Published on
I bought this on a lark and I'm so glad I did. There are a huge number of very famous crime authors who got their start with these stories and each story is better than the one before. Makes excellent casual reading, although some of the stories are full-length crime novels.

I love the old detective/crime stories and I'm a huge fan of the black and white 1930's and 1940's films, and this book is another way to get a crime fix; in fact, I'm going to buy the other collections too.

The printing in the paperback edition was done a bit on the cheap and like another reviewer said, the book is so big that it's hard to carry on the plane or elsewhere. But I can highly recommend it and the writing and stories are excellent if you like the tough-guy, hard-boiled, film noir crime and detective genre.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Aug. 6 2014
By Marcus Strong - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Showtime," I muttered to myself.
I'd been quietly standing in the shadows of the porch, like a hustler waiting for his mark. The lady in blue was bringing me the woman in red. This meeting had been in the works for days. No escape, no more negotiations, she was mine.
"Hey Sal, been waiting long?" Emma said with a smirk as I stepped from the shadows.
"Naw Emma, I knew you were coming, I got people watching."
She took me to the back of the van and with a little flourish opened the door.
"Here she is as promised."
And so she was. Leaning forward, her face etched with pure hatred. This was the lady in red. Soft and hard all wrapped up in a pretty little package. It was going to be a long, glorious night.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Nickle June 13 2013
By Dan McFist - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I realized The Maltese Falcon was in this book, I felt ripped off because I'd already read it. After reading the serial version in this book, I wanted to kiss the editor's ring for including it. It is far superior to the novel version.

Also included is the superb William Campbell Gault story, The Bloody Bokhara. Gault's story draws the reader into the personal life of an immigrant Persian rug dealer's son, who himself is drawn into a world of crime and passion. It's about people instead of characters, people so real and vivid that you'll think you know them personally.

A pulp treasure trove!

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