Overseen by the legendary Otto Penzler, Mysterious Press is one of the nation's foremost publishers of crime fiction new and old. Because I'm such a lucky bastard, I get to write most of their copy. I've been a mystery junkie since I was in high school, when Raymond Chandler showed me that books are more fun when the characters murder each other. If it were up to me, I would read nothing else.
A sample of the hundreds of titles I've written copy for:
James m. cain: The baby in the icebox
A collection of stories, both early and late, that show how James M. Cain made his name
There is a hungry tiger loose in the house, and that is not good news for anyone. A jealous husband let the animal out of his cage hoping he would eat his wife alive, but tigers aren’t used to taking orders. This jungle cat will get his meal, and he doesn’t care where it comes from.
“The Baby in the Icebox” begins with a murdered wildcat and ends with a dead human—and what comes in between is some of the most striking prose James M. Cain ever put to paper. It is one of the first stories this master of crime fiction ever wrote, and it shows all the hallmarks of the novels that would later make him famous—namely Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. The tales in this collection are short, but Cain never needed more than a few pages to thrill.
donald e. westlake: good behavior
Dortmunder agrees to do a dangerous favor for a gang of nuns
It was supposed to be a simple caviar heist. Dortmunder is almost in the building when the alarm sounds, forcing him up the fire escape and onto the roof. He leaps onto the next building, smashing his ankle and landing in the den of the worst kind of creature he can imagine: nuns.
Although decades removed from his Catholic orphanage, Dortmunder still trembles before the sisters’ habits. But these nuns are kinder than the ones he grew up with. They bandage his wound, let him rest, and don’t call the cops—for a price. The father of the youngest member of their order, disgusted by their vow of silence, has kidnapped his daughter, locked her in a tightly guarded penthouse apartment, and is attempting to convince her to renounce her faith. The nuns ask Dortmunder to rescue the girl. It’s an impossible assignment—but one he cannot refuse.
edward bunker: no beast so fierce
An ex-con struggles to adjust to life outside prison walls
After eight years spent locked up, Max has gotten very good at being a prisoner. He knows the guards, the inmates, and how to survive. But the parole board has decided that he has sufficiently reformed, and it’s time for him to say goodbye. When Max reaches the outside world, he finds that freedom doesn’t make anything easier.
Based on his own experiences in prison, Edward Bunker first drafted No Beast So Fierce in the 1950s, while incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison. He spent the next two decades in and out of jail, writing essays for various magazines and working on the novel, which was finally published in 1973. Eighteen months later, the book was used as evidence that he was fit to leave jail. He received parole, and spent the rest of his life a free man.
ken bruen: a white arrest
A pair of rough London cops looks for the high-profile arrest that will erase their sins
Book One of The White Trilogy
At sixty-two, Chief Inspector Roberts is nearly too old to be a cop, but he makes up for his age with a ferocity that the younger detectives cannot match. After four decades on the force, he has a daughter who hates him, a wife who cheats, and a bank account that grows emptier every year. At home he is a failure, but on London’s darker streets, Roberts is as serious as an earthquake.
With his partner, the gleefully brutal Detective Sergeant Brant, Roberts looks for every policeman’s dream: the White Arrest, a high-profile success that makes up for all their past failures. And when a bat-wielding lunatic starts lynching drug dealers, Roberts and Brant find the publicity they were looking for. They’ll get their arrest—no matter who they have to pummel through on the way.