Monday, October 01, 2007

Runoff Map Back

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to describe another cool feature of the hardcover edition of my new novel Runoff, which is being published on November 1st. Check it out:

It’s a map of downtown San Francisco with crime scenes from the novel plotted out a la the famous Dell “Map Back” paperbacks of the 1940s and 50s that will be printed on the back cover. To quote from an excellent Mystery Scene article about Map Backs by Gary Lovisi:

Beginning with Dell Book #5 in 1943, a mystery novel titled Four Frightened Women by George Harmon Coxe, a thin band on the cover proclaimed to the reader “with crime map on back cover.” Back cover maps would appear on an amazing 577 volumes from 1943 until 1952. Dell issued a wide array of Map Backs in all genres, but mysteries made up 50% of their list and these are the books that are of special interest to us. They comprise a beautiful series of books and hold a special place in the hearts of mystery readers and fans, yesterday and today.
My particular favorites are the ones done for collections of Hammett’s San Francisco Continental Op stories, such as this one for a volume titled, Hammett Homicides:

When I pitched the idea to my publisher and they agreed, I assumed they would purchase the rights to a standard San Francisco map and superimpose the location “dots” on top. I was very pleased to find out that Bleak House Books decided to have a map drawn from scratch in the style of the old Dell maps. I think the result is a very faithful homage to the originals … except you won’t see “Herb Cain Way” on any of the earlier ones!


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