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Hard Case Crime to publish Samuel Fuller’s “lost” novel

Since you’ve probably heard already about JK Rowling’s second novel as Robert Galbraith, allow us instead to draw your attention to a more long-awaited book whose forthcoming publication will prove just as exciting as Rowling’s to a certain crowd (albeit probably a significantly smaller crowd). Samuel Fuller – reporter, Purple Heart recipient, pulp novelist and, most famously, writer and director of such bracingly tough films as Shock CorridorPickup on South StreetThe Naked Kiss and The Big Red One – died in 1997 aged 85, having quit America for France after the release of his 1982 film White Dog and last directed a film full stop in 1990. Fuller wrote novels throughout his life, from his time as a journalist pre-World War II through to the posthumous publication of his autobiography, A Third Face, in 2002. He was capital letters A Fascinating Man. Now, the Hard Case Crime imprint (published through Titan Books) has announced that it is to release Fuller’s “lost” novel, 1993’s Brainquake, on September 9th. This is capital letters Exciting.

Fuller wrote Brainquake in France after his cinematic career had concluded. The novel – which, according to The Dissolve, concerns ‘a brain-damaged mafia “bagman” who risks his life and his livelihood to help the widow of one of his colleagues’ – was published contemporaneously in France but never reached anglophone countries. Charles Ardai, founder of Hard Case Crime, gives an excitement-stoking précis of the book’s history to The Dissolve:

Fuller started out writing novels, long before he became a filmmaker, and at the end of his life, when moviemaking opportunities became fewer, he went back to his first passion. Brainquake was published in French, but never in English, and is probably his strongest book since his early classic, The Dark Page. It came to Hard Case Crime’s attention after we published James M. Cain’s lost novel, The Cocktail Waitress. Sam’s widow, Christa Fuller, contacted us to say that a lost Sam Fuller novel existed, and did we want to see it?  Did we ever! It took a bit of work to locate the manuscript and work through the editing (Sam had edited it extensively by hand, and his friend and agent Jerry Rudes did a yeoman’s job deciphering and transcribing all the edits), but we finally got it done, and it’s a hell of book—pure Fuller from first page to last. No one else could have written this book.

Whilst all of that should have Fuller fans trembling in anticipation, it’s that last sentence in particular that makes September seem impossibly far away. Still, for anyone unfamiliar with the Fuller oeuvre, it leaves plenty of time to get caught up and similarly amped.

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Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

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