Hard boiled crime stories, old and new, in classic packaging

Hard Case Crime is a new paperback imprint that's reprinting old pulp crime novels and commissioning new novels in the style of the old pulps. They're publishing them in replica packaging designed to look like the old dime-novels, and they've even brought Robert McGinnis, best known for painting the original James Bond movie posters, out of retirement to do cover art.

From World War II through the 1960s, paperback crime novels were one of the fastest-selling categories in book publishing. Millions of readers snapped up hundreds of millions of books by well-known authors like Erle Stanley Gardner and Mickey Spillane, as well as by promising young writers like Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard, and Ed McBain. Today, Block, Leonard, and McBain still make the bestseller lists with each new hardcover — but the pulp novels that first captured the public's imagination weren't hardcovers. They were paperbacks you could fit in your back pocket, with jaw-dropping cover paintings and bare-knuckled prose that grabbed you by the collar with the first sentence and held you until the last page. No one's published books like that in years.