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CanLit Noir: Ricochet Books

"A raw novel of sex and drugs in the years just before rock 'n' roll, Hot Freeze moves from the highest Westmount mansion to the lowest Montreal gambling joint and nightclubs. "

Richochet Books is CanLit like you've never seen it before. An imprint of Montreal's Vehicule Press and edited by Brian Busby, the series brings hard-boiled noir detective novels of the 1940s and 1950s back into print. The latest title is Hot Freeze, by Douglas Sanderson, which is forthcoming this fall. 

We asked Simon Dardick, Co-Publisher of Vehicule Press, to tell us more about Ricochet and its origins, and just how they come up with the series' incredibly distinctive cover art.  

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"A novel about Montreal during the not-so-halcyon era of a couple of decades ago when gangs and girls made rum-running and slot machines big business."

49th Shelf: How did the Ricochet Books series come to be (and get their name)?

Simon Dardick: Collecting Canadian noir mysteries from the 1940s and '50s has been a passion of mine for over 20 years. Aside from being attracted to the genr …

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Waste No Tears: Hugh Garner Exposes the Underside of Toronto the Good

Book Cover Waste No Tears

This story with its shocking expose of social evils, holds a forceful message for both sexes. Its strange mixture of power, tension and torment mark it as a human story that will thrill and grip all readers. Down in the depths of the city, washed by the murky waters of the dock-yards lies Skidrow, a dark den of intrigue and mystery, whose crumbling structures harbour the outcasts of the city.—From the 1950 edition

Hugh Garner’s second novel, Waste No Tears, hit drug store and train station spinner racks in July of 1950—then disappeared, never to see print again… until now. This is the latest release from Ricochet Books, a series of vintage noir mysteries edited by Brian Busby. The book's introduction, by Amy Lavender Harris, appears below. 

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Toronto the Good—the straitlaced “City of Churches” where public drinking was prohibited and playground swings padlocked on Sundays—receives a far darker rendering in Hugh Garner’s Waste No Tears, a novel set in the bars, bedrooms and abortion clinics of Toronto’s skid row district. Pitched as “The Novel about the Abortion Racket,” Waste No Tears peels back the city’s thin veneer of respectable civility to reveal a far seamier underside—albeit one with its own covert morality.

First published in 1 …

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