Read as part of CBR13Bingo: Shelfie. Posted is a picture of the book with other Hard Case Crime books I collect.
This one’s Hard Case Crime book is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for some time. It almost qualified as my “white whale” for bingo but I decided to stick it here instead to show off part of my Hard Case Crime collection. And while I didn’t think it was as good as other HCC tales, I wish the label would put stories out like these more often.
I’ve always been fascinated with the world of burlesque, even if I’ve never seen a show in person. I grew up in Baltimore, where Blaze Starr is still a legend as a former Block performer and then owner of the 2 O’Clock Club where she made her name. This book, written by a performer about performers, really tickled my fancy. It’s a fun concept.
And it’s decent execution (no pun intended). Johnny Porkpie will never be confused for Agatha Christie or Michael Connelly, the plot is predictable and almost too obvious. But it’s a fun mystery romp through the world of modern NYC burlesque, complete with the corniness and camp that make burlesque a specific kind of art, separate from stripping as Porkpie makes clear.
I understand why Hard Case Crime regurgitates books from the same writers these days. And I understand that the occasional Stephen King tale helps to keep the lights on. But I think it would be doing the label a good service if they took more chances on new or barely experienced authors with a great hook for a crime story.