Redheads Die Quickly and Other Stories

Gil Brewer, edited by David Rachels


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"Gil Brewer marinated crime and lust together in the humid Florida heat to produce stories of sexual hunger, obsession, and predation. David Rachels has done us a service by collecting Brewer’s neglected short fiction. His introduction traces Brewer’s life and art with style and insight, and the stories continue to delight."--Leonard Cassuto, author of Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories

"Immensely enjoyable. Will be welcomed by anyone interested in the development of American noir, and indeed people who just like a gripping crime story."--Lee Horsley, author of The Noir Thriller

"This is a hell of a collection. 25 hard-boiled gems, with each story wilder than the next."--Dave Zeltserman, bestselling author of Small Crimes


Gil Brewer (1922-1983), a second-generation noir writer, followed in the footsteps of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James M. Cain. He spent most of his life in the Tampa Bay area, where he also set most of his fiction. Like his characters, he was a victim of his own weaknesses, dying as a result of the alcoholism that plagued his whole adult life.
Brewer published prolifically under various pseudonyms and in a variety of niche genres including mystery, romance, and pornography. Over the course of his career, he published more than 100 short stories and 50 novels, including A Taste for Sin, Satan Is a Woman, and The Girl from Hateville. He is known for his everyday characters--often underdogs, frequently downtrodden, and desperate to get ahead in life--who ultimately succumb to their own weaknesses and desires.
Brewer revolutionized the availability of reading-as-entertainment for the American people by helping to exploit a new market: the paperback original. Many of his novels, including the bestselling 13 French Street, have recently been reissued for a new audience. However, Redheads Die Quickly and Other Stories is the first collection of his short fiction.
Because his work was published in a large number of pulp magazines, and because he regularly didn't publish stories under his own name, Brewer's fans--and fans of hard-boiled noir fiction in general--have often been frustrated in their efforts to find the work of this mid-century American crime writer. David Rachels has sifted through the Brewer papers at the University of Wyoming, thumbed thousands of publications, and tracked down rare pulp magazines on eBay, to create the first-ever authoritative list of Brewer's short stories, with the best featured in a single volume.

Gil Brewer was among the most popular noir writers of the 1950s. His bestselling novel, 1951's 13 French Street, sold more than a million copies but was deemed "unfilmable" because of the amount of sexual content. David Rachels, professor of English at Virginia Military Institute, has edited three volumes, most recently Mark Twain's Civil War.

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"If you're a Gil Brewer fan, this is a must-buy!" George Kelley, georgekelley.org

"One of the great noir novelists of his era." James Reasoner, blogger

"You get twenty-five stories, Rachels' excellent introdction, a bibliography of Brewer's short fiction, and a note on the texts. You just can't go wrong. … The first-ever authoritative list of Brewer's short stories, with the best featured in a single volume." Bill Crider, blogger

"Brewer’s fevered Florida noirs throbbed with sultry, sexy tropic heat years before John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee weighed anchor in Bahia Mar." The Seattle Times

"The stories have an atmosphere of dank mid-summer Florida heat and unrelieved squalor." Palm Beach Post

"These stories are HARSH. These stories are BRUTAL. These stories are an absolute HOOT… Reading these stories is like stepping into a forgotten world of fedora’s and fists, high pants and twists and maybe an occasional “babe” in a two piece bikini that you just know won’t have a happy demise." Milwaukee Public Library (blog)

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