Small-Press Lineup: Black Heron Press

Mystery Month 2017Some 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!


Jerry Gold of Black Heron Press

Legal Name:

Jerry Gold


Big Jere; The Boss


J. C., editing

Willa Jean, marketing

Criminal record:

Black Heron Press was started in order to publish a single book: The Forty Fathom Bank by Les Galloway, a story of greed and adventure against a background of shark fishing off the coast of California. It was a short book, too long for a magazine, but too short for a novel. But eventually Les placed it with a magazine that, just before publication, informed him that it was bumping the story for one by Joyce Carol Oates. Les refused to read Joyce Carol Oates after that, and cancelled his subscription to the magazine.

forty fathom bank les gallowayI was in graduate school when I met Les, and soon went to American Samoa for a year to do research. While there I met an American who was an editor for a small press in the U. S. I had never heard of small presses, but showed him a copy of Forty Fathom He wanted to publish it, but his partner in the US refused, writing back that Les was too old to take on. (Les was around 70 then.) My friend in Samoa was embarrassed and I was infuriated. I decided to milk him for all the information I could get about small-press publishing. When I returned to the U. S., I suggested to Les that we publish his book on our own. He was reluctant; he saw it as vanity publishing, but came around when I asked him how he would feel five years from now if Forty Fathom was still sitting on his shelf because no one had published it. Thus was Black Heron Press—a press that publishes books that should be published by mainstream companies but aren’t—born. (Readers interested in Les might read my memoir of him, “Les Galloway,” in my little book, The Divers and Other Mysteries of Seattle.)

Our books are distributed in North America by Midpoint Trade Books. Libraries and bookstores can buy them from the usual suspects, i.e., Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Brodart, and most regional wholesalers.

Prior Offenses:

The Bathhouse, by Farnoosh Moshiri

Crossings, by Leonard Chang

In the Spider’s Web, by Jerome Gold

Northfork, by Wayne M. Johnston

The Prisoner’s Son, by Jerome Gold

Triplines, by Leonard Chang


Currently Plotting:

The Lockpicker, by Leonard Chang (May 2017)



P.O. Box 13396/ Mill Creek, Washington/ 98082.

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