by Ben LeRoy
I have long been fascinated with history.
I love hearing stories of bygone eras, famous events and notable people who helped shape our country’s path. Thankfully, there are plenty of books, films and other programming to talk about the exploits of people like George Washington, Harriet Tubman or Babe Ruth.
But somewhere along the line, once I’d dug my shovel into the dirt to find out all I could about those incidents and people, I began to notice that there were a lot of equally fascinating events and folks who have somehow escaped the microscope of history. These people and events may have played as significant a role in how we ended up where we are today, but nobody knows about them.
As a publisher of crime and mystery fiction, it’s easy enough to look at the current best-seller list and see the leading names in the field. John Grisham. Sue Grafton. Lee Child. And anybody who has spent a few minutes with a good mystery novel has probably heard of luminaries like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
But I also know that thousands and thousands of books have been published since Chandler and before Grisham, and I have to assume that at least some of those books and their authors played a hand in shaping the genre as it stands today.
The emergence of electronic books has made it possible to bring out-of-print books back to the marketplace in a cost-efficient manner that would certainly have been impossible a decade ago. Understanding the change in the publishing world, we here at F+W Media* set out to work with fans of genres – not just mystery, but also science fiction, fantasy and western – to curate a collection of titles. Such was the beginning of Prologue Books.
I think readers are enjoying the books for a variety of reasons. Some are reliving the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Others are tracing the genealogy of the genre, discovering the origins of the plot devices that would ultimately become cliché. Along the way, the families of these writers – many of whom have left us – are able to see their relatives’ work back on the shelf, in some cases, for the first time in their lifetime.
Perhaps my favorite part of the project is the discovery of these authors who might otherwise have been lost to time. There are fascinating characters among their ranks, and I enthusiastically keep digging for more.
Prologue Books is scheduled to release more than 400 titles in crime, science fiction, fantasy and western by the end of 2012. Authors include Edgar Award-winning William Campbell Gault, Max Brand, Hope Mirrlees and Vin Packer. Titles are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and Sony.
For more information, visit Prologue Books.
Benjamin LeRoy is the Publisher of Tyrus Books, a division of F+W Media known for its crime and literary fiction. He is also heads Prologue Books, an imprint dedicated to making out of print books available electronically for the first time.
*F+W Media also publishes Antique Trader.
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About the Author: Avid book collector and author, Gary Lovisi has two previous books devoted to bad girls, Antique Trader Collectible Paperback Price Guide and Dames, Dolls & Delinquents. He’s also the founder of the NYC Collectable Paperback & Pulp Fiction Expo.