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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on August 26, 2012
It took me about 6 months to read this book at one story a night, its so damn big. 1100+ pages of stories out of Black Mask Magazine from 1920-1950, with an introduction or two. As a newcomer to the crime genre, this worked as a pretty good introduction to how it was: I don't know I have become a avid reader of the field, but on the other hand, I have read a heck of a lot of it just by reading this book. In fact, just to test myself upon finishing the book I started again at the beginning, and it was like reading it all over again afresh, it had been so long. In theory you could read this book over and over, I suppose.

There are some classics here - The Maltese Falcon, for one. Its the best in the book, I think, but there is a lot of other memorable stuff too. All sorts of PI fiction is here - a locked room, a "supernatural" case, murders, robberies...you name it. Not all of it was to my taste, but I did enjoy a lot of it. I don't know what a genre enthusiast would get out of it, but as a newcomer it was an excellent start.

Lastly, I should say this is a big heavy book. Its not really feasible for reading on public transport - its not a Complete Calvin & Hobbes volume, but you'd have to be really really keen to successfully read this on a busy train, not to mention lugging it around all day in between.
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on July 23, 2011
I read both of his books, and enjoyed each one immensely. I sure hope there will be others in this series. I wasn't even born when these stories were written, but thanks to Otto Penzler, I have had the opportunity to do just that. If you like murder mysteries as much as I do, don't pass these books up (Black Lizard Big Book Of Pulps and Black Lizard Big Book Of Black Mask Stories). Together, they afford a reader many hours of immeasurable enjoyment. Please, Mr. Penzler! Give us more!
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on December 7, 2013
My husband and son love pulp. I got it for my husband and then for my cross-country son. Now all they talk about on the phone are the stories. They have another series of his, and he's the host of crime movies on TCM, which gives him special attention on our favorite channel. Mommy gets no credit for finding the book and I'm locked out of the conversation!
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on June 13, 2013
When I realized The Maltese Falcon was in this book, I felt ripped off because I'd already read it. After reading the serial version in this book, I wanted to kiss the editor's ring for including it. It is far superior to the novel version.

Also included is the superb William Campbell Gault story, The Bloody Bokhara. Gault's story draws the reader into the personal life of an immigrant Persian rug dealer's son, who himself is drawn into a world of crime and passion. It's about people instead of characters, people so real and vivid that you'll think you know them personally.

A pulp treasure trove!
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on December 31, 2011
I bought this on a lark and I'm so glad I did. There are a huge number of very famous crime authors who got their start with these stories and each story is better than the one before. Makes excellent casual reading, although some of the stories are full-length crime novels.

I love the old detective/crime stories and I'm a huge fan of the black and white 1930's and 1940's films, and this book is another way to get a crime fix; in fact, I'm going to buy the other collections too.

The printing in the paperback edition was done a bit on the cheap and like another reviewer said, the book is so big that it's hard to carry on the plane or elsewhere. But I can highly recommend it and the writing and stories are excellent if you like the tough-guy, hard-boiled, film noir crime and detective genre.
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on August 6, 2014
"Showtime," I muttered to myself.
I'd been quietly standing in the shadows of the porch, like a hustler waiting for his mark. The lady in blue was bringing me the woman in red. This meeting had been in the works for days. No escape, no more negotiations, she was mine.
"Hey Sal, been waiting long?" Emma said with a smirk as I stepped from the shadows.
"Naw Emma, I knew you were coming, I got people watching."
She took me to the back of the van and with a little flourish opened the door.
"Here she is as promised."
And so she was. Leaning forward, her face etched with pure hatred. This was the lady in red. Soft and hard all wrapped up in a pretty little package. It was going to be a long, glorious night.
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on July 25, 2013
This book with its collection of stories from Black Mask magazine is an absolute treasure. These stories from the so called pulps comprise examples of the best kind of story telling. Short and to the point they establish, plot and character quickly and economically and then wind through their twists and turns to a resolution within a very few pages. The writing is unrivalled in its descriptive nature using a wonderful economy of expression to achieve a maximum of impact. All of the stories are uniformly good although one has one's favourites. None of them are unreadable and the short introductory piece prefacing every tale tells us all we need to know about the author. Not surprisingly many of these writers also wrote scripts for Hollywood in its golden days and these authors penned almost every script for the wonderful film noir movies that featured the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Cagney, Edward G Robinson and many less famous but equally talented actors. This book and its companion piece are great buys and represent amazing value.
I loved them.
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on April 11, 2014
Mr. Penzler has indeed compiled an excellent collection of stories that seem for the most part to be ageless - they could have happened in our 'modern' era, and not a hundred years ago! Isn't it a miracle that many crimes and criminals have not evolved?
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on May 2, 2015
Not long ago I became a pulp fiction addict. My initial readings lead me to focus on Black Mask stories (I first heard the title in "Archie meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries.")

This edition is the cream of the cream!

I have read a lot of reviews that complain about the size of the book...
Since I got it on my Kindle, I don't have that problem and can take it with me anywhere!
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on February 27, 2015
Fast shipping and the book was in fine condition. This is a true cornucopia of Pulp Fiction. I love the lurid cover art of this book and its companion book, " The Big Book of Pulp." Otto Penzler provides a fine intro bio of the author of each short story. So many of these writers contributed to the scripts of Noir Films, and great Television Dramas (Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Twilight Zone, The Naked City). One of the authors, with a bare bones style, was a Production Assistan to the great film director, Joseph Von Sternberg (Marlene Dietriech's mentor).The precise, no frills, language that I have been so impressed with in films from the 30-50's can be credited, in part, to the fine writers found in this book. If you get this book, it will sweep you away, you will not be able to put it down, or go to bed before you finish the story. This is true liiterary candy!Compulsive reading.
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