I share all the current enthusiasm about Charles Williams but think there's a better comparison to be made than with John D. MacDonald or Jim Thompson or anyone else I've seen mentioned. Charles Williams is at his best when writing of a protagonist consumed by a self-destructive quest. So too is James M. Cain.
PW Daily serves up the news (plus Perseus CEO David Steinberger's memo to colleagues) which includes the following:
Perseus Books Group has formed six publishing divisions built around Avalon Travel, Basic Books, Da Capo, Public Affairs, Running Press and Vanguard imprints.
24 positions eliminated, with as many as 21 other employees could lose their jobs if they are not willing to relocate or take on new roles
Carroll & Graf and Thunder's Mouth will cease to exist as imprints after this fall, with William Strachan, editor-in-chief of Thunder's Mouth and Carroll & Graf, and C&G senior editor Don Weise among the editors being let go.
Avalon's New York office will be closed sometime this summer and employees will be moved to Perseus's headquarters on Park Avenue.
Will there be more news? There has to be, because the fate of former PGW employees and publishers hasn't even been addressed yet, and one must believe they will be at some point.
More tellingly, the impending shutdown of C&G and Thunder's Mouth should call into question whether Perseus has any longterm plans to publish fiction. Will Balliett, former executive editor of both imprints, now moves to Da Capo in a similar position. But that imprint is not known for publishing fiction. Basic Books is absorbing Nation Books (which sometimes does fiction) and Vanguard, already established as a place for formerly bestselling novelists to go for a career refresher, will likely continue what it's doing, but what of C&G's extensive mystery fiction publishing program, or the backlist reissues that Thunder's Mouth does? Steinberger might say that "[e]ach of our imprints needs to have a distinct identity, and we didn't feel that was the case with Carroll & Graf and Thunder's Mouth," but without any concrete evidence in place, one really has to wonder.
Ed here: For many years Carroll & Graf had the most interesting list in American publishing, at least for me. With the exit of (first) Kent Carroll and (second) Herman Graf it began to change significantly. Now it is gone. My biggest lament is all the jobs lost. I had some good friends still working there and I wish them well.
For those of you wondering what happened to The Elephant's Graveyard by James Reasoner, the short story that I posted for approximately half an hour. I meant for it to be a link, not a post. That is being worked on now. The story will appear again soon. Sorry for the wait.