Now that those noir-loving folks at Hard Case Crime have broken the news, I can finally share it here (after hinting about it for some time). My friend Richard S. Prather’s novel THE PEDDLER is going to be reissued… with a brand new cover by Robert McGinnis (who also did the one on the left). THE PEDDLER is stark departure from Prather’s light-hearted, often hilarious Shell Scott detective novels. It’s a dark and brutal tale about the rise (and ultimate fall) of a greedy young man working his way up in the San Francisco prostitution rackets. The prose is lean and sharp, in the same league as Harry Whittington’s classic noir tales. It’s a shame Richard didn’t do more books like this. But the fact is, he had a lot more fun writing the Shell Scott books and, as he says in an upcoming interview I did with him for the Private Eye Writers newsletter, he wanted his readers to feel better after reading his books than they did when they started. I don’t think he realized just how invigorating reading a lean, vicious little crime story can be for someone like, say, me.
I’ve been lobbying Charles Ardai at Hard Case Crime for a while — as have a few others — to bring Prather’s best work back into print. I’m hoping the inevitable success of THE PEDDLER prompts a long-overdue resurgence of interest Prather’s work and his incredibly entertaining Shell Scott series.