I’ve had a bunch of new audiobook narrations bottled up with publishers and at Amazon for awhile now, but they’re finally shaking loose. The first two came out today. Sharecropper Hell, written by Jim Thompson and The Secret Squad, written by David Goodis are now live on Audible.com. Published by the folks at Chalk Line Books, these tales are noir to the max, let me tell you. Thompson could delve into the criminal mind of his characters better than anyone before or since, and he did it in the first person. He created some of the most chilling “ordinary” people ever to appear in literature. Goodis was a master at creating characters who lived in a hopeless world, utterly devoid of promise, and his Philadelphia was the bleakest of all possible places.
I have to say that these books have been retitled. Sharecropper Hell was originally released as Cropper’s Cabin (1952), while The Secret Squad was first titled Night Squad when it was released in 1961. The publishers aren’t trying to pull a fast one here, since they disclose this fact quite freely in the Amazon descriptions of these novels, so there’s no deception involved. I just have no clue as to why they’re doing it. In any case, it was a true thrill to be able to narrate novels by these princes of noir, and I hope to do more like them in the future.