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.

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