Posted by Bruce Grossman on December 26th, 2006
If I were to do a standard Top 10 list of the year’s best books, five of the slots would be taken up by a certain plucky little publishing house in California. So why not just cut the standard list in half and focus directly on the venerable Stark House Press, purveyor of many fine two-in-one collections of classic crime novels.
Top 5 Twofers from Stark House Press:
1. A NIGHT FOR SCREAMING / ANY WOMAN HE WANTED by Harry Whittington – This book made me such a fan of Whittington, aka the king of the paperbacks. Now I’m always on the lookout for more of his stuff in the used stores (usually to no avail), so I hope Stark House reissues some more.
2. WILD TO POSSESS / A TASTE FOR SIN by Gil Brewer – Brewer’s lead character could drink Charles Bukowski under ther table. This is a dark world of noir to which we all should be exposed, because they sure don’t write like him anymore.
3. THE DEADLY DAMES / A DUM-DUM FOR THE PRESIDENT by Douglas Sanderson – Canadian noir, eh! I guess these were the books that Bob & Doug read while not hosting THE GREAT WHITE NORTH. Sanderson writes like a freight train – you just better hold on.
4. AN AIR THAT KILLS / DO EVIL IN RETURN by Margaret Millar – Putting this at number four was a little hard for me. It’s edged out by Sanderson by a mere hair. With this book, you’ll see why Ross Macdonald’s wife is actually a better writer then the man who gave us Lew Archer. This ain’t no chick lit!
5. SHAKE HIM TILL HE RATTLES / IT’S COLD OUT THERE by Malcolm Braly – Finishing up the list is, of course, one of the first books I got to review for this site: a great twofer from an ex-con. The only reason it’s this low? Just look at the competition. I mean, it’s like pick your five favorite Martin Scorsese films.