Page Updated: 22/10/98
Horace McCoy
About the Author
Kiss Tomorrow GoodbyeKiss Tomorrow Goodbye
I Should Have Stayed HomeI Should Have Stayed Home
No Pockets in a ShroudNo Pockets in a Shroud Newpbk 27 Aug 98
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Paperback - Serpents Tail (1997)
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Midnight Classics - Back in Print
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a kind of success story. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar succeeds in turning himself into a vicious and completely immoral criminal - a man whose contempt for law, order and human life drives him relentlessly into a career of unrelieved evil. he escapes from a chain-gang to join a pack of gangsters and a millionaire's daughter falls in love with him. But eventually - inevitably - his past catches up with him. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is McCoy's most ambitious work, and formed the basis for one of the great gangster movies which starred James Cagney.

'One of the nastiest novels ever published in this country.' Time
'this will probably be quarantined from libraries, but in action-adventure of the late '20s, this has a literate, nerve-lacerating, whip-lashing effectiveness. Doublecheck it' Kirkus Reviews 'A great book' Crime Time
'Bristles with hatred, corruption and full-on prose. Dig it, hepcats.' Tour
'A vicious, hardboiled gangster chronicle' Neon

Paperback - Serpents Tail (1997)
I Should Have Stayed Home
The acclaimed expose of Hollywood in the 1930s: the gigolos, the starlets, the fan magazines and the despair behind the glitter. I Should Have Stayed Home tells the story of two jobless roommates and movie extras, Ralph Carson and Mona Matthews. After Mona gains notoriety for cursing a judge during a friend's trial, she and Ralph are introduced to Hollywood society. Ralph battles with his own corruption and loss of principle, while Mona serves as his conscience, warning him against himself and the temptations of success.
'The background, the talk and the vague ending are all realistic, and tough-minded readers seeking the truth about Hollywood's lower depths will not object to the violent language used to express it' The New York Times Book Review
'… A true picture… McCoy is talking to the kids who come in flocks to become stars, the kids who never read books like this' Times Literary Supplement

New Paperback - Serpents Tail (1998)
No Pockets in a Shroud
Midnight Classics - Back in Print
It was news not fit to print… but it could still cost lives
In the city of Coltron, Mike Dolan wages a lone war against corruption. Surrounded by lies, he wants to print the truth in his paper. Mike's friends try to stop him with words, but his enemies - the society abortionist, the discredited baseball player, and the neo-fascist 'Crusaders' – try lead pipes and bullets. But Mike's not after a Pulitzer Prize; he's after a clean city and a clearer conscience - no matter what the cost.

'Horace McCoy shoots words like bullets' Time
'The real nihilist of the hardboiled school, the laureate of the blank wall' Geoffrey O'Brien

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
The depression of the 1930s led people to desperate measures to survive. The Marathon Dance Craze, which flourished at the time, seemed a simple way for people to earn extra money - dancing the hours away for cash. But, the underside of that Craze was filled with a competition and violence unknown to most ballrooms. Horace McCoy's classic American story captures that dark side in this powerful novel.
'Language is not minced in this short novel which presents life in its most brutal aspect. So if you don't like that kind of book, don't read it' Saturday Review of Literature
'… sordid, pathetic, senselessly exciting… It has the immediacy - and the significance - of a nerve-shattering explosion' The New Republic
'Were it not in its physical details so carefully documented, it would be lurid beyond itself' The Nation

About The Author
Horace McCoy was born near Nashville, Tennessee, in 1897. At the age of twelve he started work as a newsboy, and later served eighteen months in France in the U.S. Air Service, where he was wounded. During his lifetime he travelled all over the States as a salesman and taxi-driver, and his varied career also included reporting and sports editing, acting as a bodyguard to a politician and bouncer in a dance contest, doubling for a wrestler and finally, writing for films and magazines. He was a founder of the celebrated Dallas Little Theatre. Horace McCoy died in 1955.


N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.

  • Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye ( 1948) Serpents Tail Pbk Apr 97
  • I Should Have Stayed Home ( 1938) Serpents Tail Pbk Jan 97
  • No Pockets in a Shroud (Didsbury Press, 1937) New Serpents Tail Pbk Aug 98
  • They Shoot Horses, Don't They? ( 1935)

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