Stephen King waxes nostalgic in ''The Colorado Kid'' -- The author celebrates ''pulp'' fiction with his new novel

Stephen King was 12 when he read his first pulp novel. The book — Dan J. Marlowe’s The Name of the Game Is Death — had one of those lurid covers he’d sneak off to see at the pharmacy while his mom shopped for groceries. ”It was hard as nails,” recalls the EW columnist.

King’s new novel, The Colorado Kid (Hard Case Crime, $5.99), is an homage to such mid-20th-century crime fiction and the 13th title in the Hard Case Crime series of thin, cheaply priced paperbacks launched by Charles Ardai, founder of the Juno Internet service. Ardai says he and Max Phillips started the line after lamenting the lack of pulp novels like the ones they read as kids, those ”50,000-word wonders that were pounded out in 30 days on a typewriter.” After linking up with tiny Dorchester Publishing, they released the first books last September, dividing their list between reprints of ”lost” pulp masterpieces and new works from writers like Max Allan Collins and Domenic Stansberry.

For modern writers, pulp’s appeal is often nostalgic. ”Those are the books that taught me how to write,” says King. ”They all had covers which promised a double dose of sex and violence, but once you got into the story, they were all very different.”