Charles Ardai: Hard Case Shows a Soft Spot for Pulp


On Fresh Air: Edgar Award-winning author Charles Ardai is founder of Hard Case Crime, a pulp-fiction publishing group that reprints classic crime stories and publishes new pulp. All Hard Case novels come out in mass-market paperback editions, much like the classic crime novels from the '40s, '50s and '60s, with cover art inspired by images from the genre's heyday.

Under the pseudonym Richard Aleas — an anagram of his own name — Ardai writes crime fiction, too. His novels Little Girl Lost and Songs of Innocence detail the exploits of private investigator John Blake.

Blake is no hard-boiled, flint-eyed detective. He's haunted, damaged, often a little off-balance. Ardai, a one-time literature major who studied the English Romantic poets in his undergraduate career, tells Terry Gross that he's drawn to pulp fiction's tradition of wounded heroes.

Listen to full interview.

NPR has a link to a gallery of Hard Case Crime cover art.
Publisher's website also shows covers of all the books plus additional information.


Book: The Last Quarry
The ruthless hitman Quarry comes out of retirement to kill...a librarian?

Here is a display of several covers from Hard Case Crime: