Gil Brewer lived until 1983, but the marketplace for his noir died much earlier.
In his 1950s heyday, Brewer wrote more than a dozen paperback novels for Gold Medal and others, as well as publishing more than fifty short stories in crime/mystery digests such as Manhunt, Trapped, Guilty, and Pursuit—the Needles of their day.
But with the increasing popularity of television, the market for noir faded. Brewer’s last noir paperback, Sin for Me, was published in 1967, and by 1980, the only mystery digests still in business were Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, magazines far more wholesome than those Brewer had written for in the past.
Brewer’s literary world was gone, but he was stubborn. He kept writing. He published novels in other genres under other names. As Elaine Evans, he did romance. As Luke Morgann, he did porn. And he kept writing short stories, too. Sometimes his agent even managed to sell one to Alfred Hitchcock. But mostly Brewer wrote stories that no one wanted to publish. Many of them were too extreme for the readers of the remaining mystery digests. “Sweet Amy” is one of these stories. When Brewer wrote it in 1981, his agent couldn’t sell it. He told Brewer that it was “too strong.” But now it’s 2011, and “too strong” is what Needle readers want, isn’t it?