Last Chance/First Chance. Lucky Lantz may be at the end of his rope, but he’s swinging that rope as hard as he can. Returning to his hometown after a long recovery in a sanitarium for TB, he has one last chance to step away from death’s door and squeeze in some more living—quiet, restrained living with no booze, gambling, or jam sessions. A lifetime of playing jazz music in smoky honky-tonks across the Midwest has left him a wash-up alcoholic . . . and a “lunger.” He’s come home to pay off a few debts, collect on a few debts, and settle into his new prosaic life as a cobbler’s apprentice. He realizes, though, that he is not ready to give up on who he is—on what’s in his heart. Taking one last bold chance, Lucky dives back into the music scene that has always been his life's blood and his downfall. But can he beat the odds this time? Can he push back against dirty cops, small-town hoodlums, big-time gangsters and corporate sharks? Lucy’s winning streak is about to bore a hole through the underbelly of 1950’s Madison. Ultimately a humane novel about family and emotional debts, it is also a homage to the fading days of Dixieland jazz and a lost era that still comes alive in the remembered music.
The author’s last great work is here published for the first time. Lucky’s story takes the reader back to America’s heartland and a lost era. Full of pathos, humor, and hope—the novel is a loving tribute to the deep roots of jazz at a time when the raucous upstart of Rock ‘n Roll was just emerging in small-town America.
first time in print
IT IS THE DREAM of every small-press publisher to rediscover a lost masterpiece and shine a light on it. Vardis Fisher’s Dark Bridwell is that wish fulfilled. This neglected gem demands a second life, and like all great books it must be taken on its own terms. It stands alone as a searing work of art. It needs to be read, studied, taught and talked about with the same reverence as the other cornerstones of American literature: Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and A Farewell to Arms. The novel is the lost masterwork of a shamefully forgotten author who created an astounding canon of work. Our hope is to bring the name of Vardis Fisher back into the lexicon of great American authors.
The 1930’s was an auspicious decade for Vardis Fisher. His creative genius appeared early in his writing career. After a handful of highly autobiographical novels he was widely compared to Thomas Wolfe (his dear friend and colleague), Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Writing for The New York Times Book Review in 1937, Fredrick Manfred declared that Dark Bridwell is “one of the ten great novels in all of American Literature.”
Dark Bridwell drew widespread praise when it appeared during the depression years. The novel captured the rousing spirit of the independent souls who settled one of the few remaining frontiers of the American west - the Idaho territory. The portrayal of these struggling farmers and ranchers was handled with lyrical beauty and heart-felt humor, but they were also presented with cruel frankness, despair and loss. Love and hate are never far apart.
A cause for celebration, Dark Bridwell is now back in print after many decades.
Stunning wrap-around cover art features the enigmatic Jed Bridwell against the backdrop of the Snake River.
This new publication is introduced by Jonathan Eeds and includes a complete survey of the works of Vardis Fisher.
Round the World in Seven Days is a rollicking adventure tale that harkens back to the time when reading a good book was the primary source of entertainment. While on leave from the fleet, Lt. Smith learns that his father and brother have shipwrecked in the Solomon Islands and their crew is in danger of being captured by cannibals. They must be saved. It’s a matter of life and death. Smith is already in trouble with his squadron commander for some earlier misadventures, but he doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of his seven days of vacation from the fleet. He recruits his closest ally, Rodier, an extraordinary engine mechanic and feisty Frenchman. Together they “borrow” an aeroplane and set off on a wondrous and seemingly impossible quest round the world. Strang’s novel is a homage to Jules Verne and captures the pure exuberance of reading a smashing story.
- Brilliant cover art by the Viet Hung Gallery
- Generously adorned with artwork from the golden age of book illustration
- Book design is a homage to the Oxford Annual for Boys that ran for three decades in the early 20th century
- Rousing tale of rescue for fans of Jules Verne
- Maps of the heroic flight, plus additional ornamentation throughout
A mysterious voice on the telephone, a beautiful Chinese girl brutally murdered, a doddering millionaire with a guilty conscience, a private detective ensnared by unfathomable crimes, a Kowloon hooker who talks too much for her own good . . . and a coffin from Hong Kong . . .These are the barbs that pull P.I. Ryan Nelson into the strangest case of his career. To solve the mystery, he must leave the postcard-pretty beaches of his California home and burrow into the sinister alleys of the ancient walled city of Kowloon. A Coffin from Hong Kong is one of James Hadley Chase’s most intriguing novels, full of exotic locations and chock full of thrills. It is also one his most sensitive portrayals of people trapped by a fate they cannot shake.
James Hadley Chase (René Brabazon Raymond) was born in London on Christmas Eve, 1906, and started his career as a bookseller. Seeing that the hard-boiled thrillers were selling especially well, he decided to write his own—"No Orchids for Miss Blandish." It was the start of an incredible run of nearly 100 novels. Dozens of Chase thrillers have been made into feature films and stage plays.
Vic Malloy of Universal Services is once again trolling in waters so turbulent they make a maelstrom look like a millpond. The churning starts when Vic’s assistant retrieves an envelope Vic had stuffed into an old trench coat and forgotten about. The envelope contains $500 and is a retainer from a potential client—a client he never followed up with. Now months have passed without a response from Universal Services and the case is as cold as a dead mackerel. Embarrassed by his sloppy oversight, he attempts to make amends for his mistake, but his efforts quickly lead to a dead end . . . literally. His prospective client, Janet Crosby, died of a “heart attack” the very day she wrote and mailed the check. The accompanying letter requested Universal Services to investigate her half-sister, Maureen, whose wild and wanton behavior was causing the family considerable concern. The trouble is Maureen—now having inherited a pile of cash—has been sequestered while she recovers from a mysterious ailment. Vic quickly discovers that there are more gears turning behind the scenes than a few family squabbles. Having more twists and turns than a minotaur’s maze, Lay Her Among the Lilies affirms that James Hadley Chase is indeed the King of Thrillers.
Introduced by Randal S. Brandt, Curator of the California Detective Fiction Collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley