Peggy Hailey, buyer, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

I love pulp fiction. Yeah, that's right, I love square-jawed tough guys, devilish dames and trouble with a capital T. When I got my hands on the massive galley of The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps [edited by Otto Penzler, Nov.], my eyes lit up like the rep had just shown me the Maltese Falcon. What we have here is no less than a 1,024-page history of the mystery pulps in the '20s, '30s and '40s, the time of the ascendance of Black Mask and the birth of hard-boiled crime fiction. You've got your Chandler, Cain and Hammett, but you've also got Cornell Woolrich, Leslie Charteris and a whole heap of writers you and I might never have heard of who made their living at a penny a word. Penzler's brief author bios before each story are concise and illuminating, and Hammett's “Faith” has never been published before. As if this piece of literary history isn't enough, you'll also get the lovely lurid artwork that originally accompanied these stories—truly a confection not to be missed.