“This is a hell of a collection. Twenty-five hard-boiled gems, with each story wilder than the next.”—Dave Zeltserman, bestselling author of Small Crimes
“Immensely enjoyable. Will be welcomed by anyone interested in the development of American noir, and indeed people who just like a gripping crime story.”—Lee Horsley, author of The Noir Thriller
“Brewer marinated crime and lust together in the humid Florida heat to produce stories of sexual hunger, obsession, and predation. David Rachels has done us a service by collecting Brewer’s neglected short fiction. His introduction traces Brewer’s life and art with style and insight, and the stories continue to delight.”—Leonard Cassuto, author of Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories
“Gil Brewer’s short stories, like his novels, are visceral, exciting, and sometimes very bleak, indeed. He takes familiar elements and turns them into tales that are both brutal and shocking.”—Bill Crider, author of The Wild Hog Murders
Gil Brewer (1922–1983) built his reputation on the gritty foundations laid by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James M. Cain. His everyday characters were often underdogs, frequently downtrodden, and desperate to get ahead in life, yet all too often they succumbed to their own weaknesses and desires.
Taking advantage of the explosive growth of pulp magazines and novels, Brewer wrote prolifically, in genres ranging from mystery to pornography, under a number of pseudonyms. But after publishing more than 100 short stories and 50 novels, including A Taste for Sin, Satan Is a Woman, and 13 French Street—which sold more than a million copies but was deemed “unfilmable” because of its sexual content—Brewer hit a wall. As though possessed by one of his characters, he faded into an alcoholic and financial slump, dying alone in St. Petersburg.
Although many of his novels have been reissued, this is the first collection of his stories to be made available. It will grab you by the throat and won’t let go.
David Rachels, professor of English at Virginia Military Institute, has edited three volumes, most recently Mark Twain’s Civil War.