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.