When I was the editor of Black Lizard Books between 1984 and 1989, the one novel I wanted most to publish in the series was Elliott Chaze’s Black Wings Has My Angel. The book was brought to my attention by Edward Gorman and Max Collins, both of whom had written admiringly about it. I read it and was floored. Black Wings was an astonishingly well-written literary novel that just happened to be about (or roundabout) a crime. It was a perfect fit for what the publisher and I were doing at Black Lizard, putting out books that were psychologically provocative, on the edge, and, more often than not, over the edge. Our authors—among them Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, David Goodis—were uncompromising, cruel, crazy, sexy, and daring. Chaze’s novel, published originally in 1954 and since then widely available only in French translation, was to be a kind of crowning achievement for Black Lizard. Unfortunately, before we could publish it, the company was sold and the editors who inherited the series deemed Black Wings unworthy of publication.

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