ROARING LIONS: A Chronological Bibliography of All Crime Fiction Titles in LION BOOKS and LION LIBRARY
by Josef Hoffmann

   Lion Books were published by Martin Goodman. This paperback line lasted from 1949 until 1955 and was edited by the legendary Arnold Hano, an author of western and crime novels and of a classic baseball book.

   He promoted Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Robert Bloch, David Karp, Richard Matheson and other very good crime writers by publishing their work as paperback originals. He also promoted a rising star novelist named Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald) and other important authors – Stanley Ellin and Gerald Kersh, for example – in paperback reprints.

   Although not all crime novelists of Lion Books are in this class Lion Books usually stand for a certain level of writing. Most of the Lion Books are collectible paperbacks with good cover art by Rudolph Belarski, Harry Schaare, Robert Maguire, Robert Stanley, Mort Kunstler and others. Some books are now very pricey.

   The publisher established a similar paperback line called Lion Library when Hano left in 1954. It lasted from 1954 until 1957 and published in part the same writers. Finally New American Library purchased Lion Books, Inc.

   As I do not own many Lion Books I obtained the information about this paperback line from Jon Warren: The Official Price Guide Paperbacks, House of Collectibles, N. Y. 1991; Gary Lovisi: Antique Trader Collectible Paperback Price Guide, Krause Publications, Iola, WI, 2008.

   Which of the Lion Books were crime titles and which were reprints of first editions, I learned from Allen J. Hubin: Crime Fiction IV. A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749-2000, 2010 Revised Edition, Locus Press.

    Warning: If you read too many Lion Books in a short time the simplicity and vulgarity of their vernacular will get on your nerves. There are just too many words like hell, swell, kill, hate, lust, sin, skin, sweat, blood, babe, blonde, dope, jungle etc.

   And the emotions of the protagonists are too direct and primitive. You will long for the reflected, differentiated and elegant prose of authors like Chandler, Woolrich or Highsmith. So after a typical Lion Book it is better to read something very different like a humorous detective novel or a historical mystery to be able to enjoy another Lion Book once in a while.

         LION BOOKS:     (PBO = paperback original)

Morgan, Michael (C. E. Carle/Dean M. Dorn): The Blonde Body (LB 11), 1949; cover art Len Oehman. First edition: Nine More Lives, Random House 1947


Jackson, Shirley: The Lottery (LB 14), 1950; cover art Herman Bischoff. First edition: Farrar 1949 (short stories)

Marsh, Peter: The Devil’s Daughter (LB 16), 1949; cover art William Shoyer. First edition: Swift 1942

Ross, Sam: He Ran All the Way (LB 19), 1950; cover art Harry Schaare. First edition: Farrar 1947

Tucker, Wilson: To Keep or Kill (LB 21), 1950; cover art Herman Bischoff. First edition: Rinehart 1947


Lynch, William: The Intimate Stranger (LB 25), 1950; cover art Woodi. PBO.

Balchin, Nigel: The Small Back Room (LB 31), 1950; cover art Wesley Snyder. First edition: Collins 1943

Jackson, Shirley: The Road Through the Wall (LB 36), 1950; cover art Harvey Kidder. First edition: Farrar 1949

Gray, Russell (Bruno Fischer): The Lustful Ape (LB 38), 1950; cover art Julian Paul. PBO.

Appel, Benjamin: Brain Guy (LB 39), 1950. First edition: Knopf 1934

Ellin, Stanley: The Big Night (LB 41), 1950. First edition: Dreadful Summit, Simon 1948


Eastman, Elizabeth: His Dead Wife (LB 44), 1950. First edition: The Mouse with Red Eyes, Farrar 1948

Tracy, Don: How Sleeps the Beast (LB 45), 1950. First edition: Constable 1937

Millar, Kenneth: Trouble Follows Me (LB 47), 1950. First edition: Dodd 1946


Millar, Kenneth: The Dark Tunnel (LB 48), 1950. First edition: Dodd 1944

Jaediker, Kermit: Tall, Dark and Dead (LB 51), 1951. First edition: Mystery House 1947

Wilhelm, Gale: No Letters for the Dead (LB 52), 1951; cover art Pease. First edition: Random House 1936; reprint: No Nice Girl, Pyramid G-440, 1959

Bordages, Asa: The Glass Lady (LB 56), 1951. First edition: Godwin 1932

Teagle, Mike: Murders in Silk (LB 60), 1951. First edition: Hillman-Curl 1938

Trimble, Louis: Blondes Are Skin Deep (LB 62), 1951. PBO


Keene, Day: My Flesh Is Sweet (LB 68), 1951. PBO

Tracy, Don: The Cheat (LB 69), 1951; cover art Harry Schaare. First edition: Criss-Cross, Vanguard 1934

Bogar, Jeff (Ronald Wills Thomas): The Tigress (LB 72), 1951. First edition: Payoff for Paula, Hamilton & Co. 1951

Durst, Paul: Die, Damn You! (LB 75), 1952. PBO. (Classified as a western by Lovisi.)

Gordon, James: The Lust of Private Cooper (LB 77), 1952. First edition: Of Our Time, Dobson 1946; reprint: Collision, Farrar 1947

Bogar, Jeff (Ronald Wills Thomas): My Gun, Her Body (LB 79), 1952. First edition: Dinah for Danger, Hamilton & Co. 1952


Butler, Gerald: The Lurking Man (LB 81), 1952. First edition: Mad with Much Heart, Jarrolds 1945

Wolfson, P. J.: Bodies Are Dust (LB 83), 1952. First edition: Vanguard 1931

Prather, Richard S.: Lie Down, Killer (LB 85), 1952. PBO


Wills, Thomas (William Ard): You’ll Get Yours (LB 87), 1952. PBO

Lucas, Curtis (William Francis Urell): So Low, So Lonely (LB 91), 1952. PBO

Karp, David: The Big Feeling (LB 93), 1952. PBO

Evans, John (Howard Browne): Lona (LB 94), 1952; cover art Earle Bergey. First edition: If You Have Tears, Mystery House 1947; reprint: The Blonde Dies First, Horwitz 1956


Appel, Benjamin: Hell’s Kitchen (LB 95), 1952. PBO

Kersh, Gerald: Prelude to a Certain Midnight (LB 98), 1952; cover art Rudolph Belarski. First edition: Heinemann 1947

Thompson, Jim: The Killer Inside Me (LB 99), 1952. PBO


Elliott, Bruce: One Is a Lonely Number (LB 100), 1952; cover art Earle Bergey. PBO

Paul, Gene (Paul Conant): Little Killer (LB 104), 1952; cover art Prezio. PBO

Karp, David: The Brotherhood of Velvet (LB 105), 1952. pBO

Thompson, Jim: Cropper’s Cabin (LB 108), 1952. PBO


Eisner, Simon (Cyril M. Kornbluth): The Naked Storm (LB 109), 1952; cover art Robert Skemp. PBO

Ring, Douglas (Richard S. Prather): The Peddler (LB 110), 1952. PBO

Walker, Shel (Walter J. Sheldon): The Man I Killed (LB 112), 1952. PBO

Karp, David: Hardman (LB 119), 1953; cover art Prezio. PBO

Thompson, Jim: Recoil (LB 120), 1953. PBO

Francis, William (William Francis Urell): Don’t Dig Deeper (LB 123), 1953. PBO

Goodis, David: The Burglar (LB 124), 1953. PBO


Thompson, Jim: The Alcoholics (LB 127), 1953. PBO

Otis, G. H.: Bourbon Street (LB 131), 1953. PBO

Karp, David: Cry, Flesh (LB 132), 1953. PBO

Goodis, David: The Dark Chase (LB 133), 1953; cover art Julian Paul. First edition: Nightfall, Messner 1947

Matheson, Richard: Someone Is Bleeding (LB 137), 1953. PBO


Untermeyer, Jr., Walter: Dark the Summer Dies (LB 138), 1953. PBO

Scott, Warwick (Elleston Trevor): Cockpit (LB 140), 1953. First edition: Image in the Dust, Davies 1951

Roueche, Berton: Rooming House (LB 141), 1953. First edition: Black Weather, Reynal 1945

Scott, Warwick (Elleston Trevor): Doomsday (LB 148), 1953. First edition: The Domesday Story, Davies 1952

Thompson, Jim: Bad Boy (LB 149), 1953; cover art Mort Kunstler. PBO

Falstein, Louis: Slaughter Street (LB 151), 1953; cover art Lou Marchetti. PBO

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): A Rage at Sea (LB 152), 1953; cover art Maguire. PBO

Bezzerides, A. I.: Tough Guy (LB 153), 1953. First edition: Long Haul, Carrick 1938; reprint: They Drive by Night, Dell Book 416, 1950


Paul, Gene (Paul Conant): Naked in the Dark (LB 154), 1953. PBO

Thompson, Jim: Savage Night (LB 155), 1953. PBO

Jaediker, Kermit: Hero’s Lust (LB 156), 1953; cover art Lou Marchetti. PBO

Lipsky, Eleazar: The Hoodlum (LB 161), 1953. First edition: The Kiss of Death, Penguin 1947

Curtis, Lucas (William Francis Urell): Angel (LB 162), 1953. PBO

Manners, William: The Big Lure (LB 165), 1953. PBO

Appel, Benjamin: Dock Walloper (LB 166), 1953. PBO

Heatter, Basil: Sailor’s Luck (LB 170), 1953. PBO

Otis, G. H.: Hot Cargo (LB 171), 1953. PBO


Francis, William (William Francis Urell): The Corrupters (LB 174), 1953. PBO

Leiber, Fritz: Conjure Wife (LB 179), 1953; cover art Robert Maguire. First edition: Twayne 1953. (Classified as SF by Lovisi.)

Matheson, Richard: Fury on Sunday (LB 180), 1953. PBO


Thompson, Jim: The Criminal (LB 184), 1953. PBO

Bloch, Robert: The Kidnaper (LB 185), 1954. PBO

Goodis, David: The Blonde on the Street Corner (LB 186), 1954. PBO

Fairman, Paul W.: The Joy Wheel (LB 190), 1954. PBO

Thompson, Jim: The Golden Gizmo (LB 192), 1954. PBO

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): Night Never Ends (LB 193), 1954; cover art Clark Hulings. PBO

Meskil, Paul S.: Sin Pit (LB 198), 1954; PBO

Rosmanith, Olga (Ferney Wood): The Long Thrill (LB 200), 1954. PBO

Thompson, Jim: Roughneck (LB 201), 1954. PBO

Keene, Day: Sleep with the Devil (LB 204), 1954. PBO


Craig, Jonathan: Alley Girl (LB 206), 1954. PBO. Reprint: Renegade Cop, Berkley 1959

Trevor, Elleston: Tiger Street (LB 207), 1954. First edition: Boardman 1951

Keene, Day: Joy House (LB 210), 1954. PBO

Sparkia, Roy Benard: Boss Man (LB 211), 1954. PBO

Thompson, Jim: A Swell-Looking Babe (LB 212), 1954. PBO


Fessier, Michael: Fully Dressed and in His Right Mind (LB 214), 1954. First edition: Knopf 1935

Flora, Fletcher: Strange Sisters (LB 215), 1954. PBO

Cassill, R. V.: Dormitory Women (LB 216), 1954. PBO

Thompson, Jim: A Hell of a Woman (LB 218), 1954. PBO

Manners, William: Wharf Girl (LB 219), 1954. PBO

Davis, Jr., Franklin M., The Naked and the Lost (LB 221), 1954. PBO

Untermeyer, Jr., Walter: Evil Roots (LB 222), 1954. PBO

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): The Savage Chase (LB 223), 1954; cover art Al Rossi. PBO

Goodis, David: Black Friday (LB 224), 1954. PBO

Baldwin, Linton: Sinners’ Game (LB 227), 1954. PBO

Heatter, Basil: Act of Violence (LB 228), 1954; cover art John Leone. PBO

Lipman, Clayre & Michel: House of Evil (LB 231), 1954. PBO

         LION LIBRARY:

Frazee, Steve: The Sky Block (LL-3), 1954; cover art Robert Maguire. First edition: Rinehart 1953

Wolfson, P. J.: The Flesh Baron (LL-4), 1955. First edition: Is My Flesh of Brass?, Vanguard 1934


Kennedy, Stetson: Passage to Violence (LL-9), 1954; cover art Al Rossi. PBO

Karp, David: Escape to Nowhere (LL-10), 1955. First edition: One, Vanguard 1953

Rosen, Victor: Dark Plunder (LL-11), 1955; cover art Al Rossi. PBO

Clark, Christopher: The Unleashed Will (LL-15), 1955. First edition: Little 1947

Greene, Graham: Nineteen Stories (LL-31), 1955; cover art Arthur Shilstone. First edition: Heinemann 1947

Walker, David: The Storm and the Silence (LL-33), 1955; cover art George Erickson. First edition: Houghton 1949

Millar, Kenneth: Night Train (LL-40), 1955; cover art Samson Pollen. Reprints LB 47 with new title.

Gordon, James: Collision (LL-41), 1955; cover art Gilbert Fullington. Reprints LB 77 with new title.

Coates, Robert M.: The Night Before Dying (LL-45), 1955; cover art Al Brule. First edition: Wisteria Cottage, Harcourt 1948

Millar, Kenneth: I Die Slowly (LL-52), 1955. Reprints LB 48 with new title

Ross, Sam: He Ran All the Way (LL-59), 1955; cover art George Gross. Reprints LB 19.

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): A Party Every Night (LL-63), 1956; cover art Robert Schultz. PBO

Kauffman, Lane: Kill the Beloved (LL-64), 1956; cover art Charles Copeland. First edition: The Perfectionist, Lippincott 1954

Garland, Rodney (Adam Hegedus): The Heart in Exile (LL-76), 1956; cover art Arthur Shilstone. First edition: Allen 1953

Tucker, Wilson: To Keep or Kill (LL-84), 1956; cover art Robert Maguire. Reprints LB 21.

Karp, David: The Girl on Crown Street (LL-86), 1956. Reprints LB 132 with new title.

Flora, Fletcher: The Brass Bed (LL-87), 1956. PBO

Kent, David: A Knife Is Silent (LL-91), 1956; cover art Mort Kunstler. First edition: Random House 1947

Miller, Wade: Kiss Her Goodbye (LL-96), 1956; cover art Charles Copeland. PBO


Park, Jordan (Cyril M. Kornbluth): Sorority House (LL-97), 1956; cover art Clark Hulings. PBO

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): Ruby (LL-104), 1956; cover art Samson Pollen. PBO

Wilhelm, Gale: Paula (LL-115), 1956; cover art Morgan Kane. Reprints LB 52 with new title.

Appel, Benjamin: Alley Kids (LL-116), 1956; cover art Samson Pollen/Carlos De Mema. Reprints LB 95 with new title.

Tracy, Don: The Cheat (LL-118), 1956; cover art Charles Copeland. Reprints LB 69.

Thompson, Jim: Recoil (LL-124), 1956; cover art Robert Maguire. Reprints LB 120.

Eisner, Simon (Cyril M. Kornbluth): The Naked Storm (LL-125), 1956; cover art Robert Stanley. Reprints LB 109.

Garland, Rodney (Adam Hegedus)
: The Troubled Midnight (LL-128), 1956; cover art Charles Copeland. First edition: Allen 1954

Wills, Thomas (William Ard): You’ll Get Yours (LL-129), 1956; cover art Harry Schaare. Reprints LB 87.

Goodis, David: Nightfall (LL-131), 1956. Reprints LB 133 with new title.


Roueche, Berton: Rooming House (LL-133), 1957; cover art Arthur Sarnoff. Reprints LB 141.

Williams, Ben Ames: Leave Her to Heaven (LL-136), 1956; cover art Clark Hulings. First edition: Houghton 1944

Hudiburg, Edward: Killer’s Game (LL-137), 1956; cover art Harry Schaare. PBO

Thompson, Jim: A Hell of a Woman (LL-138), 1956; cover art Morgan Kane. Reprints LB 215.

Thompson, Jim: The Kill-Off (LL-142), 1957; cover art William Rose. PBO

Jackson, Charles: Thread of Evil (LL-143), 1957; cover art Lou Marchetti. First edition: The Outer Edges, Rinehart 1948

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): Hot (LL-144), 1956; cover art Rudy Nappi. PBO

Friedman, Stuart: The Bedside Corpse (LL-148), 1957; cover art Robert Stanley. First edition: The Gray Eyes, Abelard 1955

Williams, Ben Ames: A Killer Among Us (LL-149), 1957; cover art Harry Schaare. First edition: The Silver Forest, Dutton 1926

Appel, Benjamin: Brain Guy (LL-151), 1957; cover art Mort Kunstler. Reprints LB 39.

Masur, Harold (ed.): Dolls Are Murder (LL-152), 1957; cover art Mort Kunstler. PBO

Paul, Gene: The Big Make (LL-158), 1957; cover art Robert Maguire. Reprints LB 104 with new title.

Lorenz, Frederick (Lorenz Heller): A Rage at Sea (LL-165), 1957; cover art James Bama. Reprints LB 152.

Roth, Holly: The Sleeper (LL-171), 1957; cover art Rudy Nappi. First edition: Simon 1955

Falstein, Louis: Slaughter Street (LL-172), 1957; cover art Robert Maguire. Reprints LB-151.

Editorial Comment:   I wish I had the space to show more of the covers here, but there are many, many more where these came from. Check out Bruce Black’s BookScans website, starting here.