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A MUSEUM OF NOIR THRILLS: THE STARK HOUSE ANTHOLOGY edited by RICK OLLERMAN and GREGORY SHEPARD


For twenty-five years, Stark House Press has been doing work for the hard boiled gods and deities of other fiction as well. They reprinted the often hard to find works by definitive authors such as Lionel White, Day Keene, and Gil Brewer. They have helped preserve the history of populist fiction. To celebrate they released The Stark House Anthology with short work of many of the authors they brought back into circulation.


Most of their best known writers are featured. Peter Rabe writes a thriller on an army post that shows how he applied his psychology background that he often dismissed using. Day Keene works in that curious subgenre of carny-noir with "The Geek-Girl". The man who gave us The Name Of The Game Is Death, Dan J. Marlowe, gives us an art forgery tale with one hell of a twist. You can also find stories by Lionel White, Wade Miller, and the king of the paperbacks, Harry Whittington.


One area covers some of the paperback private eye writers of the fifties. We get Stephen Marlowe's globe trotting detective Chester Drum. Frank Kane's Johnny Lindell cracks a case in the world of radio drama. Henry Kane gives an example of his humorous hardboiled P.I. Pat Chambers in "The Memory Guy".


Stark House has recently taken a look at women authors from that era and the anthology features a couple of them. Jean Potts "Murder #2" tells a suspenseful tale of a man plotting to kill his mother. told with dry humor. Helen Neisen's "Woman Missing" shows why she was a regular in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine regular as well as writing for the Master Of Suspense's TV show.


We also get authors from later eras. Barry Malzberg's "Disorderly" is a tight story about how one man's obsessive compulsion affects his marriage, then gets him in further trouble. Ed Gorman's "Angie" is stuck with a sociopathic bank robber boyfriend and goes down one of the darkest paths I've ever read. One of the writers whose new work Stark House publishes, Timothy J. Lockhart, shows us what Top Gun might look at as a noir in "The Last Night At Skipper's Lounge".


The two editors also contribute. Rick Ollerman has fun with the trope of the husband plotting to use a hitman n his wife with "Hit Me". Gregory Shepard's "Axe" riffs on the everyman in a bloody situation.


Included is novella by Jada M .Davis, So Curse The Day. Davis was a little known author with only one book, One For Hell, hat was published. Stark House brought that back as well as his unpublished work. Curse The Day's noir protagonist is a drifter with a cloudy past who tries to make a claim for himself in a small town. Both the burg's politics and his unscrupulous nature have him heading for a downfall, Davis tells the story in a lurid, crisp, jaundiced style that would have made him a Gold Medal hero if he pursued a writing career with more determination.


I haven't even covered half the stories. Other names include Frederick Brown, Bill Pronzini, and The King in Yellow's Robert W. Chambers. The Stark House Anthology operates as both a sampler of what the publisher has to offer and a treasure trove of of stylish, well told stories from the bad side of town. Here's to another twenty-five.


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