Black Mask 3: The Maltese Falcon: And Other Crime Fiction from the Legendary Magazine

Edited by Otto Penzler, read by Jeff Gurner, Oliver Wyman, and Pete Larkin. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, six CDs, 7.5 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-61174-464-4
This compilation features original writing—never before available on audio—from the pages of Black Mask, the pulp fiction magazine credited with giving birth to the hard-boiled detective genre. Dashiell Hammett’s classic thriller, The Maltese Falcon—an earlier draft of his later published novel—takes center stage. Narrator Jeff Gurner provides a distinct classic noir feel to his characterizations of private eye Sam Spade and the convoluted cast of characters. And while his staccato narration certainly captures the essence of the material, listeners not steeped in the genre’s conventions may find his approach off-putting. The collection’s remaining two short stories also pack a powerful punch. In performing Frederic Brown’s “Cry Silence,” Oliver Wyman ably captures the author’s ironic and strangely folksy tale of unpunished crime. And narrator Pete Larkin—the public address announcer for the New York Mets from 1988 to 1993—provides a chilling depiction of passion and loyalty among thieves in his reading of William Cole’s “Waiting for Rusty.” (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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