Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sand's Game -- Ennis Willie

You should buy this Ramble House collection of Ennis Willie's stories (and one novel) about a former gangster named Sand. Not just because I wrote the intro to one of them, as did other writers (James Reasoner, Bill Pronzini, Gary Lovisi, Wayne Dundee) to other stories. Not just because there's a fine essay on Willie's work by Lynn F. Myers, Jr. Not just because it contains a complete Ennis Willie bibliography. Not just because of Steve Mertz's dandy interview with Ennis Willie that's included. And not just because Willie was a huge influence on Max Allan Collins, who says in his intro to the collection that "Among the American writers, only one caught Mickey [Spillane's] magic -- only one managed to create a fever- dream world of sadistic gangsters, willing women and larger-than-life tough guys." (You can read more of that intro here.)

So why should you buy this book? Because of all those things, and because a single Ennis Willie novel bought from some on-line dealer will cost you a heck of a lot more than this volume, which is a huge bargain. And because it's great reading of the kind you can hardly find any more. Buy it now.


Anonymous said...

I can't find information on the contents of this book beyond the table of contents on Ramble House's site.
The novel titles aren't the same as any of Willie's old paperbacks. Are they the author's original titles? If so, to which published novels? They aren't (dare I suggest it?) previously unpublished novels, are they?
And I didn't even know Willie wrote any short stories. Were they published before? If so, where?
This is great news-- Willie is one of the most under-rated, little known hardboiled writers of all time.
But the lack of info on this release is giving me the screaming fantods.

John Hocking

Peter Rozovsky said...

Bill, I just bought this in preparation for a Bouchercon panel. Wow! That man could write. The book has made me a WIllie fan.

Bill Crider said...

He was really good, and it's a shame that most of his books are priced so high. At least this one's available.

Peter Rozovsky said...

So, just those two Ramble House collections easily available?

Is he still alive?

Bill Crider said...

Asfar as I know that's all that's in print. He's still around, and he was involved in the reprints.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I saw that he was still around for the reprints. The mutual affection between him and his rediscoverers is nice to see. In one picture of him surrounded by the reprints, he looks a bit like Dan J. Marlowe without the glasses.

But I have to thank you rediscovered. Willie is my discovery of the year so far.

Bill Crider said...

I just hope others will find him, too.

Peter Rozovsky said...

An interesting writer, and a guy who seems to have his head screwed on straight, too. I just read the interview with him included in the Sand's Game reprint.

Sure, some of his stuff is a bit slapdash, but, by God, the best of his writing packs a punch as hard as anything in crime writing. I hope the Bouchercon panel will do something to spread the news about Willie. Max Allan Collins is the panelist who'll be talking about him, and I know he's a leading Willie enthusiast.

Bill Crider said...

You can trust Al to spread the gospel.