Pulp in the paper: I review Day Keene in the Philadelphia Inquirer
The book is a collection of stories that originally appeared in pulp magazines covering two periods in the prolific Keene's career: 1931-35 and 1942-1950.
The first group, written under Keene's real name, Gunnard Hjerstedt (spellings of both names vary by source), shows affinities with the wisecracking, fast-talking detective tales that had become popular in the late 1920s, such as Frederick Nebel's long-running Kennedy and MacBride tales. The later stories, written as John Corbett, move in darker territory that may evoke Cornell Woolrich and David Goodis.
That facility in widely different styles will likely be the most fascinating aspect of the volume for crime readers in today's era of specialization: Keene could write anything for a market that demanded everything. He was an earlyish representative of a crime fiction tradition whose last examples include Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block.
That's one reason this review, though a bit out of my territory, was among the most fun I've written. A tip of the battered old fedora to the editor who asked me to write it.
Here, again, is the review, And here are the Keene entries at Gold Medal Corner and the Thrilling Detective Web Site. Not only did the man write everything, he wrote lots of it and for a long time.
© Peter Rozovsky 2013