"I think my stories have some quality of the opening of a forbidden box, and that it is this rather than violence, sex or any of the things usually cited by way of explanation that gives them the drive so often noted."
If the words "noir" and "pulp" produce a Pavlovian jolt of excitement in your teeming brain, then you will be jazzed to hear about James M. Cain's newly discovered final novel, The Cocktail Waitress. Due for release by Hard Case Crime in the fall of 2012, it was tracked down in a nine-year effort by company founder Charles Ardai.
"Together with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain is universally considered one of the three greatest writers of noir crime fiction who ever lived," said Ardai, "and for fans of the genre, The Cocktail Waitress is the Holy Grail. It’s like finding a lost manuscript by Hemingway or a lost score by Gershwin." The story centers on a beautiful young widow whose husband dies under suspicious circumstances. She takes a job as a waitress in a cocktail lounge, where she meets two new men: a handsome young schemer she falls in love with and a wealthy older man she marries.
Until the Cain release, we'll all have to down a celebratory shot of rye and content ourselves with the none-too-shabby collection Best American Noir of the Century!