Charles Williams (1909-1975) was one of the preeminent authors of American crime fiction. Born in Texas, he dropped out of school in tenth grade to enlist in the US Merchant Marine, serving ten years before leaving to work in the electronics industry. At the end of World War II, Williams began writing fiction in San Francisco, where the success of the “backwoods noir” Hill Girl (1951) allowed him to quit his job and write full time for the rest of his life.
Williams’ clean and somewhat casual narrative style distinguishes his novels, which range from hard-boiled noir to suspense thrillers, set in the sea and the Deep South. Although published by pulp houses, his work won great critical acclaim, with Hell Hath No Fury (1953) becoming the first paperback original to be reviewed by legendary New York Times critic Anthony Boucher. Many of his novels were adapted to the screen, including Dead Calm (1963) and Don’t Just Stand There! (1966), for which Williams wrote the screenplay. He died in 1975.
“No one can handle a boat in print more gracefully than Charles Williams.” - Dorothy B. Hughes, author of In A Lonely Place
“[Williams] is just about as good as they come.” - New York Times
“One of the neglected hardboiled geniuses . . . his novels were perfect little gems.” - Joe R. Lansdale, author of Savage Season
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