Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Steps Down

As reported by various sources now, well-respected Norway-based independent publisher 280 Steps is shutting its doors this week. Although the company has not yet explained this sudden development on its Web site, 280 Steps authors have been broadcasting word of their unexpected availability to other publishing enterprises.

“I am sad to see [280 Steps] close up and for my books to be homeless for a while,” remarks hard-boiled stylist Eric Beetner, who’s released four novels through that house, including Rumrunners (2015) and a pair of entries in his Lars and Shaine hit man series (The Devil Doesn't Want Me and When the Devil Comes to Call). “This also means the final Lars and Shaine novel, The Devil At Your Door, won’t be out April 25th. My apologies to anyone who pre-ordered it.” Meanwhile, Australian Andrew Nette, whose Gunshine State reached the market last fall thanks to 280 Steps, writes on Facebook: “I’m pretty gutted about this, and my thoughts also go out to my fellow 280 Steps authors, many of whom had a number of books out through the outfit. 280 Steps [was] a good publisher, did some great books, with wonderful cover art, and I didn’t see their closure coming. I’m very proud of Gunshine State. The book had been well received, appeared to have a lot of life left in it and I’ve been contemplating a sequel. Frankly, I am not sure where to go with it now. Obviously, I have no intention of giving up fiction writing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this latest news has stopped me in my tracks a bit.”

Despite the brevity of its existence (the company was founded in 2014), 280 Steps had collected a great deal of praise for its range of authors—from Jake Hinkson and A.I. Bezzerides to Patrick Shawn Bagley and Preston Lang—as well as the “striking artwork” to be found on its book covers. In 2016, Josh K. Stevens’s Scratch the Surface won The Rap Sheet’s Best Crime Novel Cover of the Year contest. We’re sorry to see this publisher’s presence disappear from book racks.

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