Louis L'Amour was more than a writer, he was a phenom. It's estimated that at one time he laid claim to nearly 75% of all available rack space in the western section. There were better western writers to be sure but a combination of luck, pluck and an ability to tell colorful stories in dramatic and uncomplicated ways made him a publishing icon.
As a journeyman pulp writer, L'Amour wrote for virtually every available market, from frontier stories to South Sea adventures to hardboiled stories of the mean streets. The sixth volume of his Collected Stories concentrates on the latter, mixing tales of gangsters, boxers, killers and detectives.
While there are no masterpieces here, L'Amour brought all his skills to the task of pulp crime. For me the run of boxing stories are the gems. L'Amour was himself a former boxer and he obviously had a real feel and affection for fighters and the ring. And the shadowy figures who have always run boxing.
The detetctive stories work both as tales and as snapshots of the big city in the Forties. Like O'Henry and New York, L'Amour understood that cities themselves are characters and he gives us tours of life at the very top and life at the very bottom.
I'd recommend this as a nightstand book. It's a large collection and is best read a few stories at a time. There are some clinkers (I'm not sure why the editors chose to lead with such a poor story) but if you like pulp fiction this is the book for you.