Small-Press Lineup: Stark House

2015_mystery-month-buttonSome of the biggest crime fiction is perpetrated by some of the smallest players. We’re determined to shine the spotlight on them before they break out and wreak havoc across the whole country. Read them—before they publish again!



Legal Name and Alias:

mugshot-greg-shepardGreg Shepard, Publisher, acquisitions, general mayhem


Cindy Shepard, Webmistress, social networking, techno sneak

Mark Shepard, Art director, graphic design, rapier wit

Criminal Record:

Stark House was created by the Shepard Family in 1998, but the most of the family soon dropped out, leaving Greg Shepard to persist in his fool’s mission to bring back all his favorite mystery writers in modern editions, with two books in each volume. The goal was to reprint forgotten noir and thriller writers, and not worry about whether they would sell, but whether they should be read, or at least made available.

Greg was joined by his brother Mark as the art director, and they created a line of trade paperbacks that stretched from E. Phillips Oppenheim’s turn-of-the-century intrigues to Elisabeth Sanxay Holding’s suspense novels and right up to a few new authors like Charlie Stella and Rick Ollerman. And somewhere along the way we were lucky enough to be able to bring back the works of Gil Brewer, Peter Rabe, Douglas Sanderson, Vin Packer, Harry Whittington, Day Keene, A. S. Fleischman, W. R. Burnett, Dan J. Marlowe and Robert Silverberg. Oh, yes, and Algernon Blackwood. Because classic supernatural fiction holds a special place in the heart as well.

We were also lucky enough to work with Ed Gorman and Rick Ollerman as associate editors. They both brought in some great authors and some great ideas. But now it’s back to basics, and Stark House has returned to its roots as a family affair. The fool’s mission continues. Sixteen years later, Stark House now has about 80 books in print, all of which are distributed to bookstores and libraries by Baker & Taylor Books. And in May, we introduce a mass market line called Black Gat Books—because there is never enough noir.

holding-ladykillerPrevious Offenses:

Lady Killer / Miasma, by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (Oct 2003—our first mystery)

The Box / Journey Into Terror, by Peter Rabe (Dec 2003—our first of many Rabe reprints)

Something in the Shadows / Intimate Victims, by Vin Packer (July 2004—one of our favorites)

trinian-northbeachgirlOne for Hell, by Jada M. Davis (Oct 2010—the quintessential bad cop noir)

Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era, by Brian Ritt (Sept 2013—our homage to the writers we love)

North Beach Girl / Scandal on the Sand by John Trinian (May 2014—two very cool Beat noirs)

Currently Plotting:

Night of the Horns / Cry Wolfram, by Douglas Sanderson (June 2015—a personal favorite)

The Bleeding Scissors / The Evil Days, by Bruno Fischer (Aug 2015—at last, some Fischer!)

Marilyn K / The House Next Door, by Lionel White (Nov 2015—master of the failed caper)





About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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