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Bruin Crimeworks current publications

Crimeworks Bestseller: TO CATCH A THIEF by DAVID DODGE

TO CATCH A THIEF is David Dodge's most famous novel, and rightly so. Alfred Hitchcock firmly cinched its place in the annals of crime fiction by adapting it into an Academy Award winning film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The story centers on John Robie, American expatriate and skilled gymnast, who once-upon-a-time was Le Chat, the famous and elusive cat burglar who worked the South of France. The legend of Le Chat grew with each crime. Following the war, Robie retires to a quiet life in France and vows to leave his past behind. His retirement is shattered when a copy-cat burglar commits a string of robberies that puts the police on Le Chat's trail again. Robie must catch the phony Le Chat before the police catch him. The Bruin Books edition of TO CATCH A THIEF is the first publication of the novel in many years and includes an introduction by Randal S. Brandt and afterword by Jean Buchanan. At last this beloved mystery is back in print.

Special Features

Introduction by Randal S. Brandt, David Dodge authority and webmaster for the David Dodge website. Afterward by Jean Buchanan detailing her quest to find the Villa Noel Fleuri in Nice, France, location of TO CATCH A THIEF.

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Bruin Crimeworks current publications

Crimeworks Bestseller: MISS DARKNESS by Fredric Brown

MISS DARKNESS collects the finest short crime fiction of Fredric Brown. Included in this generous collection are some hard to find gems, such as The Case of the Dancing Sandwiches, The Jabberwocky Murders and The Pickled Punks. Brown’s reputation has not diminished over the years; in fact, his following has grown since his death in 1972. First editions of his books fetch hundreds of dollars, and even the vintage paperbacks go for handsome sums. This is because his strong narrative voice and character driven stories read as fresh today as the time they were written. Better known for his crime novels (his first novel, The Fabulous Clipjoint, garnered an Edgar award) his short stories and novellas were in many ways superior. It is only that they are so difficult to track down that they are underappreciated. Time will eventually place Brown in the pantheon of revered American crime writers shared by Chandler, Hammett, Goodis and Cain. The publication of MISS DARKNESS marks the 40th year of Fredric Brown’s passing and at last pays ample tribute to his treasured short fiction.

Special Features

A hefty collection by Fredric Brown's best short crime fiction. Many pulp-era illustrations and an Introduction by Jonathan Eeds. Five-Star rating by Amazon customers.

Bruin Crimeworks current publications

DEATH AND TAXES by David Dodge

Death and Taxes

"Death and Taxes" is the first novel written by David Dodge, who would go on to write some of the finest novels in the mystery genre, including the legendary "To Catch a Thief." Often compared to Dashiell Hammett, Dodge's urbane writing style stands the test of time. His novels are fresh, fast-paced and witty. "Death And Taxes" was originally written on a bet with his wife and it draws extensively from his experience as a tax consultant. Who'd of thought the subject of tax fraud, when mixed with murder, romance and binge drinking, could be so entertaining. "Death and Taxes" has one of the funniest drinking scenes in all of literature-not to be missed, and Whit Whitney, tax man turned detective in 1940's San Francisco, is one of the most endearing characters in crime fiction. 


Introduced by Randal S. Brandt.

THE LONG ESCAPE by David Dodge

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Al Colby, an American expatriate working as a private investigator in Mexico City, is contacted by an old acquaintance in Los Angeles who hands him a cold case involving a missing person. Robert Parker’s mysterious disappearance is tying up a family fortune and is enraging his abandoned wife who can’t tap the family coffers without proof of death. The case sounded routine enough, right up his alley, but the trail for the missing Mr. Parker leads Colby down a rabbit hole winding through a number of South American countries, each one a dead end. Running out of funds and clean shirts, Colby is ready to throw in the towel, but the stakes are too high and his client, Mrs. Parker, a first class bitch who only wants her money freed up by her husband’s death certificate, fuels the search with additional cash. The deeper Colby digs the more entangled he becomes in a decades old mystery of misplaced loyalties, family secrets and riches in nitrate ore. The Long Escape is the first of a three novel series featuring the rootless detective Al Colby and marks a decided departure for David Dodge, who’s previous novels followed the exploits of Whit Whitney, a buttoned-down San Franciscan accountant more into champagne and sleek cars than Colby’s tequila shots, balmy shores, and fiery Latin women. The Colby novels are enriched by authentic detail and exotic locations and set the stage for Dodge’s best known work, To Catch a Thief. Introduced by Randal S. Brandt.

CARAMBOLA by David Dodge

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Andy Holland, a globe-trotting mining engineer, takes a much needed vacation in Cannes and stumbles into a daughter he never knew existed. The revelation is emotionally shattering and sets into motion the adventure of a lifetime. Holland must put aside his conflicted feelings to rescue his daughter’s adopted father from a dire situation. Falling into the latter period of Dodge’s oeuvre, Carambola is one of his most muscular and tension-filled novels. As always with Dodge, his richly drawn characters and authentic settings pull the reader completely into the story. Carambola is a novel of pursuit that strains the nerves.


Introduced by Randal S. Brandt

Fredric Brown's THE FAR CRY & THE SCREAMING MIMI

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The first in a new series of Fredric Brown double-novels, The Far Cry / The Screaming Mimi could very well have been subtitled “The Way of the Knife.” And since this is Fredric Brown we’re talking about, the razor’s edge isn’t limited to the blade itself; it is a metaphor for the narrow ledge the characters navigate. Taken together we find Brown at the height of his powers. As with many of Brown’s narratives, the main characters are fueled by an alcoholic haze and are never far from their next drink. Although the boozing never becomes the story, it keeps the protagonists constantly teetering on the edge of collapse. The novels are daring for their time, awash in taboo subjects and frank language that would never, ever make it into the mystery films of the same period. It’s why people read potboilers in the first place. They wanted the gritty underbelly they couldn’t get anywhere else. The Screaming Mimi is an early take on the serial killer sub-genera, written long before it became mystery mainstream. The Far Cry is one of Brown’s darkest stories—a serpent’s tail that coils tighter and tighter around the narrator as attempts to unravel the knot of a young woman’s murder. One novel takes place in an authentically rendered Chicago—nightclubs, press rooms and police precincts; the other casts its drama in the forlorn deserts of New Mexico—a haunting, vast emptiness where ghosts don’t have to be seen to be felt. Fredric Brown double-novels are newly edited and presented in a format that gives these works the treatment they deserve. Reading a book is more than just reading a story. The Far Cry / The Screaming Mimi features a new introduction by Sci-Fi great Barry N. Malzberg, whose decades-long appreciation of Fredric Brown makes for a stirring kick-start to the new series.

Fredric Brown's THE DEEP END & NIGHT OF THE JABBERWOCK

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In the second of a series of Fredric Brown Double Novels, Bruin Books joins together one of Fredric Brown’s best loved novels, Night Of The Jabberwock, with one of his most underrated mysteries, The Deep End. Brown’s lifelong love and appreciation of the works of Lewis Carroll is on full display in Night Of The Jabberwock. In that novel a bored journalist despairs over the fact he never has any newsworthy events to report on. In a zany and dark bit of wish fulfillment, which is further fueled by copious amounts of cheap whiskey and insomnia, he is plunged into a nightmarish hall of mirrors inspired by Carroll’s Alice books. In The Deep End, another journalist, this one on the fringes of divorce, must face his own shortcomings while solving a series of murders that has been previously whitewashed as accidents. This is an early example of the psycho-killer milieu, and Brown’s trademark shock-and-twist ending does not disappoint. Barry N. Malzberg, well-known science fiction writer and editor, introduces the novels with an overarching perspective of Brown’s literary legacy.

KNOCK THREE-ONE-TWO by Fredric Brown

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Written late in his career and while at the height of his powers, KNOCK-THREE-ONE-TWO is Fredric Brown's tour de force of suspense. Taking place over the span of a single evening, we find a city enflamed by fear. A serial killer is on the loose, and while the maniac ties the city into knots, the lives of ordinary citizens are drawn into an inescapable spiral of greed and chance. Brown, purveyor of the surprise ending, does not disappoint. Step now into a world of shadow and anxiety. You need only knock 3-1-2.

Bruin crimeworks current publications

HOUSE OF FLESH by Bruno Fischer

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All-star athlete Harry Wilde retreats to a remote rural village to escape the pain of a failed marriage and the recent loss of the national basketball championship. Seeking only peace of mind, he soon finds himself entangled in an intense and demeaning love affair with a strange and sullen woman whose primal power holds control over his most basic desires. Unable to stop himself from wandering down a path of darkness, the only thing that will save him is his instinct for survival. With its menacing undercurrents of psychological torment, HOUSE OF FLESH crosses the boundaries of crime fiction and strays into the murkier depths of horror. This landmark crime novel is available again for the first time in many years.

BLACK WINGS HAS MY ANGEL by Elliott Chaze

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One of the best crime novels of the 50’s, and a sublime example of American Noir, is BLACK WINGS HAS MY ANGEL by Elliott Chaze, whose earlier war novel, THE STAINLESS STEEL KIMONO, was much admired by Ernest Hemmingway. Chaze took the standard dime store crime novel and turned it into an edgy piece of literature. His use of complex sentences, long descriptive passages, and characters who continue to surprise us throughout the narrative prove that the American crime novel was capable of greater depths. The story follows the turbulent love affair of a pair of uprooted misfits, an ex-hooker and an ex-con, who are brought together by a mutual love of money. Adrift between the cracks of society, they form a bond that is less like love and more like fate. Left on their own they would have led lives of criminal mischief, misdemeanor and petty crime, but together, embarking on a dark journey across the American landscape, they create absolute mayhem.

DELIVER ME FROM EVA by Paul Bailey

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This book was really the proto-type publication for the Bruin Asylum line of strange and supernatural stories, but it was published under the Crimeworks line since Bruin Asylum hadn't started up yet. 

 DELIVER ME FROM EVA opens with the breeziness of a mystery/romance novel typical for the 1930’s & 40’s, it quickly descends into a tale of madness and depravity. Mark Allard, a young lawyer with bright prospects, has just married Eva. It was a whirlwind romance and following the nuptials he finds that he knows very little about his bride. After an all too brief honeymoon in San Francisco, Mark drives Eva to her family’s estate in Pasadena so that he can meet his new in-laws. Mark is instantly struck by the cool, beguiling beauty of Thalamus. Expecting a pleasant weekend, he instead finds himself prisoner of a clan of brilliant New Age whackos who seek eternal enlightenment through addictive chiropractics. At turns grotesque, unpredictable and darkly humorous, DELIVER ME FROM EVA is regarded as one of the best horror/ crime novels of the 20th Century. It is a non-stop, head-spinning, cover-to-cover read. The novel is illustrated with many fascinating medical drawings by Albinus, Vesalius and Da Vinci.

FEELS LIKE RAIN by Edward Anderson

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FEELS LIKE RAIN is the largest collection of Edward Anderson's fiction and true crime writing ever assembled. For a period of about three years Edward Anderson’s writing garnered the attention of the highest literary circles. He quickly moved from pulp fiction to literature with a natural sort of ease, a self-assurance that can only be called brilliant. His authentic stories of dustbowl drifters captured the times in perfect pitch. He was the inheritor of London, brethren to Steinbeck. His work appeared side by side with Faulkner, Wolfe and Katherine Ann Porter. He was compared to Hemmingway by literary critics of the day and was lured by Hollywood like so many other hot talents. His voice was a proletariat spark, an igniter for the masses. Anderson presumed to speak for his generation, the Starvation Army whose faces were gaunt as skulls and whose ribcages, when stripped of their tattered coverings, looked like xylophones hung from boney rails. Just as he found his voice, his narrative, his landscape and the people who would populate it, his artistic output inexplicably fizzled. It was as if all the creative juices had been squeezed out of him. Most of the work he left behind can be found in this single volume, It Feels Like Rain. Today Anderson is primarily remembered as a crime writer (the great Raymond Chandler considered Thieves Like Us the best bandit novel ever written,) but it is time to give him his due and afford him his proper place in the halls of American literature. Edward Anderson’s earthy, naturalistic style, his humanist approach and focus on social issues, places him the company of our finest writers. Introduction by Jonathan Eeds. FEELS LIKE RAIN is illustrated with artwork and photographs evocative of the 1930's.

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH by James Hadley Chase

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This is a newly revised edition of the famous crime novel NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH. For the first time this edition combines the original text from 1939 with the revisions made by the author in 1961. The novel is now widely regarded as one of the top thrillers of the last century. When it was originally published it pushed the social boundaries of the time through its relentless exploration of crime and sexual exploitation. Unlike most crime novels of that era, the characters are rich, deeply realized portraits of those who lived on the fringes of society during the Great Depression -- namely the gangsters, their women, and the men who hunted them. The novel broke sales records when published and has gone onto to sell over four million copies worldwide. Historically important, such literary greats as George Orwell and Graham Greene instantly recognized its merits. In a lengthy essay that securely placed NO ORCHIDS in an honored position in crime fiction, George Orwell wrote that, "In a book like NO ORCHIDS one is not, as in the old-style crime story, simply escaping from dull reality into an imaginary world of action. One's escape is essentially into cruelty and sexual perversion...a brilliant piece of writing, with hardly a wasted word or a jarring note anywhere." Set in the heartland of America during hard times, the story reveals itself along the back roads, roadside diners and street corners of a jaded, threadbare society - a truly unnerving novel updated for a new generation of readers ready to discover the world of James Hadley Chase.

FLESH OF THE ORCHID by James Hadley Chase

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James Hadley Chase (René Brabazon Raymond) was born in London in 1906 and started his career as a bookseller. With the aid of a dictionary of American slang and reference books on the American underworld he wrote his first novel, NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH, over six weekends. The book achieved remarkable popularity and became one of the best-sold books of the decade. FLESH OF THE ORCHID is a wild, thrill-ride of a sequel to NO ORCHIDS. Taking up the story 22 years later, the central figure is once again a Blandish girl, but Carol Blandish is not the helpless victim that her mother was. Indeed, she is a volatile blend of simmering sexuality, strained innocence and hair-trigger cruelty. Her explosive outbursts of savage violence make her a force to be reckoned with. Escaping from a mental institute during a raging storm, and definitely off her meds, Carol Blandish is soon pursued by a seedy cast of characters who all want a piece of the Blandish fortune. The novel bristles with crazy plot twists, edge-of-the-seat suspense and intriguing low-life's who mix it up for an immensely enjoyable read.

PASS THE BODY by C. St. John Sprigg

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From the Introduction: Christopher St. John Sprigg is not a name that immediately springs to mind when considering the Golden Age of Mystery, and yet this young man, in only a few years of active writing, produced a solid body of work in the mystery genre. Had his life not been cut short by war, he would have undoubtedly reach the ranks of the Golden Age Greats. Pass the Body—his first detective novel—is a fine example of why it’s easy to make such a claim. Sprigg’s quick wit and fluid style drive the narrative. His version of the British cozy starts out warm, quaint, and quirky but comes crashing down with some very deviant behavior and gruesome shocks. The novel has a cast of a dozen characters—fascinating suspects all; in less capable hands the reader would be lost in the crowd, but Sprigg takes the time to develop the characters, adding brush-strokes of dimension and subtlety as the story develops and the mystery deepens.

THE CORPSE WITH THE SUNBURNED FACE by C. St. John Sprigg

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The Corpse With The Sunburned Face straddles two diverse worlds, a placid English village stained by murder and a hostile African landscape steeped in ritual and death, and although it sets up as a typical British cozy, the story becomes something quite savage and thrilling in its second half. Pass the Body, Sprigg’s first mystery novel, is also available from Bruin Crimeworks. C. St. John Sprigg’s life was tragically cut short on February 12th, 1937 in the valley of Jarama, just east of Madrid. Like many of his literary contemporaries, such as Hemmingway and Orwell, he joined the anti-fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War. Although he was a highly-trained pilot he joined the fight as a machine-gunner and instructor. He died a hero while manning the last held machinegun nest on “Suicide Hill” at the Battle of Jarama, providing cover for his retreating comrades. Sprigg’s hilltop post was overrun by fierce Moorish fighters just as he was spiking his gun and preparing for his own withdrawal.

HOUSEOF FEAR by Wadsworth Camp

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Broadway: bright lights, big stars, sheer         evil . . . The highly anticipated premier of Coward’s Fare is smashed to rubble in the first act when the play’s star, Bertrand Woodford, is struck dead on stage . . . Murdered! Before the police can effectively investigate the crime, the actor’s body disappears into thin air. The murder goes unsolved but one thing is certain: it is the death knell for the play. Woodford’s Theater is darkened, shuttered and chained. Coward’s Fare is tossed in the dustbin and is only remembered as that “cursed play.” Years later, the original cast return to Woodford’s Theater to orchestrate a revival of the cursed play. But Woodford’s ghost now haunts the stage and murder is in the wings. First rehearsals reawaken the primal horror that stalks the players once more: the play must not be shown! Get out! . . . This time, though, the cast and stagehands band together for the fight of their lives.Wadsworth Camp’s "The House of Fear" (1916) predates the dawn of the Golden Age of Mystery by a mere four years, but it contains many of the trappings that would become the staple of the golden era. Camp’s writing is fresh and invigorating, his story compelling. As with much of his fiction (a half dozen novels and numerous stories) Camp weaves the plot with elements of the Supernatural. Bruin Crimeworks is proud to make this extremely rare novel of mystery and suspense available again.Most famously, Wadsworth Camp, a highly successful writer in his day, was also the father of Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time. "The House of Fear" was filmed in 1929 as "The Last Warning" by the great Paul Leni. It was to be his final film and is now available for the first time in a 4K restoration. 

THE 9 DARK HOURS by Lenore Glen Offord

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Sadly out of print, this would be a good one to search for in the used book market. It was one of our best looking books, and it's a fabulous read, with an introduction by Maria C. Brandt. Illustrated with historic photographs of San Francisco.