James M. Cain wrote some of the grittiest novels in American literature, including such classics as The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce. James M. Cain: Hard-Boiled Mythmaker is a critical overview of the author's life, work, and legacy. An updated and expanded edition of two of David Madden's scholarly works on Cain, this new book improves upon the previous works by collecting the most essential writing on Cain by Madden into one volume. In addition to melding existing material, this work contains updated and new material, including fresh commentaries on later books, such as Rainbow's End, Cloud Nine, and The Enchanted Isle, as well as later film adaptations, including Butterfly.
It also responds to 40 years' worth of criticism on Cain and reevaluates his influence. Providing an overview of all of Cain's fiction, including an analysis of the major themes of his entire literary career, the book also describes Cain's impact on and importance in 20th-century culture, film in particular. In addition to a biographical summary and thematic outline of Cain's nearly 50-year career, Madden and Mecholsky examine how Cain's works explore the nightmare consequences of the persistent American dream. Finally, Madden and Mecholsky consider Cain's technical innovations of the novel and survey the major film adaptations of Cain's novels. With its significant in-depth analysis and a foreword by Edgar-award winning author Max Allan Collins, this volume will be of interest to Cain scholars as well as anyone interested in 20th century American literature and film.