Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hooks Hits: Alexander’s Greats

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.

Between 1954 and 1959, New York City author and newspaper horse-racing editor David Alexander published eight mystery novels starring Bart Hardin, described by The Thrilling Detective Web Site as “the rambling, gambling two-fisted editor of The Broadway Times.” Mitchell Hooks painted covers for the Bantam paperback editions of at least two of those works, featured below: Die Little Goose (1957) and The Murder of Whistler’s Brother (1957). He also created the front for an Alexander one-off, Murder Points a Finger (1955).





The End Is Yet to Come

Two weeks ago, when I launched Killer Covers’ tribute to the work of American painter and illustrator Mitchell Hooks, I wrote that the series would run only through the end of March. Well, April Fools! I got you! These posts have been so popular, I’ve decided to continue rolling them out for a bonus fortnight. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Deadly Chase”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Deadly Chase, by “Carter Cullen,” aka Richard and Mildred Macaulay (Gold Medal, 1957). I don’t know much about this novel, but Mystery*File says it figures into a “subgenre of mysteries dealing with insane asylums.” Film screenwriter Richard Macaulay and his wife published at least one other work of crime fiction under their Cullen pseudonym: Don’t Get Caught (1951).

Monday, March 30, 2020

Hooks Hits: “A Burnt-Out Case”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



A Burnt-Out Case, by Graham Greene (Bantam, 1962).

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Donovan’s Brain”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Donovan’s Brain, by Curt Siodmak (Popular Library, 1961). This work of science-fiction first saw print in a 1943 hardcover edition from Alfred A. Knopf. It went on to be adapted into three different movies: The Lady and the Monster (1944), Donovan’s Brain (1953), and The Brain (1962). German-American novelist Siodmak penned more than a dozen books, but he was quite a bit more prolific as a screenwriter, producing the scripts for such Hollywood horror classics as The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and The Beast with Five Fingers.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hooks Hits: Ambler Times Three

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.

During the course of an interview he conducted with Mitchell Hooks in 1988, Gary Lovisi of Gryphon Books asked the artist whether he had a personal favorite among the myriad covers he’d painted.

Hooks responded: “I think rather than a single cover, there are two series: one you’ve mentioned, the Lew Archer series, because the format was so strong and they made such a nice group. But there was another series I did for Bantam of Eric Ambler books, and there were five or six of those. I think they were a little more sophisticated in concept and design. I think they would be my favorites.”

Five or six? In a search across the Web, I have so far succeeded in tracking down only three Ambler covers painted by Hooks, for paperbacks released in 1964. Enjoy them below.






Friday, March 27, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Aimée”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Aimée, by M.L. Law (Popular Library, 1959). Reportedly based on the life and legend of 18th-century French heiress Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, this novel was originally published in a hardcover edition in 1956, under the author’s full name, Margaret Lathrop Law. To read the back cover, simply click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Local Talent”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Local Talent, by William Fuller (Dell, 1960). This novel—the second of six to feature Fuller’s adventurer-cum-detective, Brad Dolan—was originally released in 1954 as Goat Island.

Hooks had previously created the cover art for another Fuller tale, a standalone titled The Pace That Kills (1956):



READ MORE:Brad Dolan #5: Miami Manhunt” (Paperback Warrior).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Watch the Northwind Rise”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Watch the Northwind Rise, by Robert Graves (Avon, 1963). Originally published in hardcover by Creative Age Press, 1949. The UK version of this novel was titled Seven Days in Crete.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Don’t Let Her Die”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Don’t Let Her Die, by “Tarn Scott, “ aka Walter Szot and Peter G. Tarnor (Gold Medal, 1957). Click here to enjoy the back cover. Szot and Tarnor apparently penned only two novels together, this one and Sex Marks the Spot (1960).

Monday, March 23, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Brute in Brass”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Brute in Brass, by Harry Whittington (Gold Medal, 1956).

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Pink Hotel”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Pink Hotel, by Dorothy Erskine and Patrick Dennis (Crest, 1960). Originally published in hardcover by Putnam, 1957.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Big Eye”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Big Eye, by Max Ehrlich (Bantam, 1958). According to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, this “was the first release in Doubleday's SF line.” The tale “concerns an attempt by astronomers to terrify humanity into world peace by announcing that a visiting planet is due to hit Earth ...”

Friday, March 20, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Fever Tree”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Fever Tree, by Richard Mason (Signet, 1963).

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hooks Hits: “View from the Top”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



View from the Top, by Al Hine (Popular Special, 1960). Originally published in 1959 under the title The Birthday Boy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hooks Hits: “While the City Sleeps”

How could this be? It was seven years ago today that Detroit, Michigan-born artist and illustrator Mitchell Hooks died at age 89.

Ever since then, I’ve become much more aware of his work, spotting it both on the Web and on the covers of used paperback books. As a result, my computer files of Hooks paintings have expanded substantially. Some fronts I have used in The Rap Sheet, others have been showcased on this page (including his covers for a line of Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer novels), and I fit a handsome trio of his paperback façades into a piece I wrote for CrimeReads in 2018, “12 Cover Artists Every Vintage Crime Lover Should Know.”

But many have gone unutilized. So, to honor Hooks’ life and artistic excellence, I have decided that every day for the next couple of weeks, I’ll post here one of his book covers that I’ve gathered but not featured over the last seven years.

Let’s begin, below, with the front from While the City Sleeps, by Charles Einstein (Dell, 1956), originally released in 1953 under the title The Bloody Spur. This was the basis for the 1956 film noir While the City Sleeps, directed by Fritz Lang and starring George Sanders and Dana Andrews. You will find the back cover here.