First in a series of cover artwork, mostly paperbacks, and all from my collection. The only criterion for this one and ones to come: These are books that I’ve found pleasures in various ways in having them in hand to look at, up close and personal.

   Artist: Kirwan:

Shoot the Piano Player

BLACK LIZARD. First published as Down There, Gold Medal, 1956. Reprinted as Shoot the Piano Player, Grove Press (Black Cat), 1962. Black Lizard edition, 1987. Introduction by Geoffrey O’Brien. Filmed as Tirez sur le pianiste; adapted and directed by François Truffaut.

      From the front cover (top):

    “David Goodis is the mystery man of hardboiled fiction — the poet of the losers.”

— Geoffrey O’Brien, Mystery Scene

   From the front cover (bottom):

      Eddie was a piano man on the skids, about as far from the top as he could slide. Then he met a girl, the right girl, and she gave it all back to him. He’d kill anyone who came between them.

      From the back cover:

   Eddie had been a big shot one, a concert pianist at the top of his profession, able to fill Carnegie Hall whenever he chose to perform. His brothers were in a different business, however; they were thieves, killers. Until now he’d been able to avoid them, to live his life in his own way. But things were different now; they’d been different since his wife and career went out the window. He hit bottom fast.

   Then this girl came along, and Eddie began the long, slow climb out of the gutter. When his brother Turley showed up Eddie knew it was bad news — he couldn’t say no to Turley, no matter how painful the consequences proved to be.

      “Action and thrills!”           — San Francisco Call Bulletin

      “Goodis’s characters are not just hard-boiled, they’re pickled and then deep frozen … bad-dream Bogarts on the far ledge of existence.”          — Mike Wallington