W.R. Burnett Lives On

Nobody Lives Forever / Tomorrow’s Another Day by W. R. Burnett (Introduction by Nicholas Litchfield)

This is the sixth collection of novels by W.R. Burnett reprinted by Stark House Press, and there will likely be more that will follow it. Burnett wrote plenty of novels. Some say he never wrote a bad one. Big publishers wanted his stories, and his work was ever popular with readers. Occasionally, his efforts won awards. They were stories that were cinematic and full of good dialogue, and there was always the promise of action. From the first manuscript to the last, he was a reliably good novelist and became a highly prized screenwriter. The most highly rewarded, in fact. Was he shot with luck, or was there something else behind his success?

One of the most enjoyable challenges as a researcher is digging up something new, something lost. An obscure tidbit of information that hasn’t been seen for decades. The more high-profile the author, the more data there is to sift through. Look hard enough in the archives and there’s often a treasure trove of forgotten documents waiting to be found. Case in point: W.R. Burnett. A fascinating writer with a literary career that any writer would envy. Much has been written about him, but there’s always more to be said. My essay “The Gangster Novel Writer Who Was Shot with Luck” serves as an introduction to the latest collection, Nobody Lives Forever / Tomorrow’s Another Day, published this month by Stark House Press. These two tough-guy tales from the 1940s are compelling dramas worthy of new audiences. The first features a disparate bunch of grasping con men preying on a wealthy widow, and the second focuses on gangsterdom in the gambling world. They are stories that are hard to put down, and each delivers a payoff for the reader. You can purchase them on Amazon or Barnes and Noble using the links provided. Unlike at the roulette table, your money will be well spent.