Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction

This fine anthology, published in 1987, edited and with an introduction by Ed Gorman, is a top-notch collection of  stories. Black Lizard Anthology cvr 2

Contents:  “The Used” by Loren Estleman, “A Cold Foggy Day” by Bill Pronzini, “Swamp Search” by Harry Whittington, “Take Care of Yourself” by William Campbell Gault, “A Matter of Ethics” by Robert J. Randisi, “Tough” by John Lutz, “This World, and Then The Fireworks” by Jim Thompson, “Soft Monkey” by Harlan Ellison, “Yellow Gal” by Dennis Lynds, “Scrap” by Max Allan Collins, “Set ‘Em Up Joe” by Barbara Beman, “Shut the Final Door” by Joe L. Hensley, “Death and the Dancing Shadows” by James Reasoner, “Perchance to Dream” by Michael Sideman, “Horn Man” by Wayne Dundee, “The Pit” by Joe R. Lansdale, “Turn Away” by Edward Gorman and “The Second Coming” by Joe Gores

That’s a hell of a line-up, by anyone’s standards! I found a used copy of this about ten years ago after it was strongly recommended by Bill Crider, a member of the mystery group I’m in. The copy I got isn’t perfect; it had gotten damp and is a little swollen, there is even a water spot or two. This is a book that deserves to be in buttery leather with gold trim and a sewn-in bookmark, except that this is a book full of tough characters and fists and bottles and dames and hopelessness and life. Probably too tough for that leather. This is a book that NEEDS TO BE READ, not left on a shelf to be admired.

Gorman starts out with an introduction telling us about the first Gold Medal paperback he bought, at age fourteen. That hooked me, before I even got to the first line of the first story. He concludes the introduction with this: “What you’re about to read, at least from my point of view, is a tribute to all of the Gold Medal writers who taught a whole generation of us not only the tricks of writing but a few tricks about living as well. These are the kind of stories you find in those beautifully packaged and profane old books. I hope you enjoy them.”

If you like good mystery writing, you’ll like this collection – a LOT. So what are you waiting for? Pull it off the shelf, or go find a copy somewhere, and get reading. You’ll be glad you did.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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13 Responses to Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    I’m on my way to find it.

  2. You won’t regret it, Patti. This is a really solid anthology.

  3. Frank says:

    I have read almost all the Black Lizard releases, but never picked this one up. The line up you posted, and your enthusiasm for the book have convinced me. I’m heading to an online bookstore.

  4. Kent Morgan says:

    Got it somewhere in my basement as I too probably bought it because Bill Crider recommended it. Think I read the intro and one story and since then it’s been gathering dust with several other anthologies.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Good choice, Rick. I read it – can it really be? – in 1992.

  6. Frank Denton says:

    Dang! I’ve had this anthology for several years but have not read it. Now I have to go find it — or be known forever as a fake myustery fan.

  7. Richard says:

    Kent – It’s a good one, and it’s not that hard to find (except for those of you who have it in a box somewhere… 🙂

  8. Richard says:

    Frank, as a Black Lizard fan, you know this has to be good, and the line-up of authors tells you everything else.

  9. Richard says:

    Frank Denton – it’s not as if you had 15 thousand books to look through…wait, I think maybe you DO have that many. It’ll be great exercise and worth the trouble. No matter what, you’ll never be a “fake” anything.

  10. Todd Mason says:

    Everyone Needs to read the SECOND BLACK LIZARD anthology Ed put together, too. And then go on to all his other books.

  11. Richard says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Todd.

  12. Ray says:

    Thank you for pointing this book out to me. I know of James Reasoner and Robert Randisi through their westerns.

  13. Richard says:

    It’s a great anthology, and there is a second one as well. Worth the time finding and reading, I think.

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