Charles Ardai

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Charles Ardai
Born1969 (age 52–53)[citation needed]
United States
Alma materColumbia University
  • Entrepreneur
  • writer
  • editor
  • television producer
EmployerD. E. Shaw & Co.
Notable workJuno Online Services, Hard Case Crime

Charles Ardai (born 1969[citation needed]) is an American entrepreneur, businessperson, and writer of award winning crime fiction and mysteries. He is founder and editor of Hard Case Crime, a line of pulp-style paperback crime novels. He is also an early employee of D. E. Shaw & Co. and remains a managing director of the firm.[1][2] He was the former chairman of Schrödinger, Inc.[2]

Early life[edit]

A New York native and the son of two Holocaust survivors, Ardai told NPR in a May 2008 interview that the stories his parents told him as a child "were the most grim and frightening that you can imagine" and gave him the impression "there was a darker circle around a very small bit of light," something that enabled him to relate to his own characters' sufferings.[3]

While in high school, Ardai enjoyed reading pulp fiction and worked as an intern at Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.[4]

After graduating from Hunter College High School in 1987, he attended Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1991.[5]


Right out of college, Ardai was hired by hedge fund D.E. Shaw.[4] His first job at the firm was to set up its recruiting department, with a goal of hiring "people who really excel in one field or another."[6]

In 1996, he was a co-founder of Juno, an internet company.[4][7][8] After Juno was sold in 2001, Ardai and Max Phillips decided to start a publishing company to publish crime fiction in the pulp magazine style they grew up enjoying. That proposed company became Hard Case Crime, which published its first books in 2004.[9]

Ardai's writing has appeared in mystery magazines such as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, gaming magazines such as Computer Gaming World and Electronic Games, and anthologies such as Best Mysteries of the Year and The Year's Best Horror Stories. Ardai has also edited numerous short story collections such as The Return of the Black Widowers, Great Tales of Madness and the Macabre, and Futurecrime.[10]

In 1994, Ardai's short story "Nobody Wins," published in 1993 by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, received a Shamus nomination for Best P.I. Short Story.[11]

His first novel, Little Girl Lost (2004) was nominated for both the Edgar Allan Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America and the Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America.[12] His second novel, Songs of Innocence, was called "an instant classic" by The Washington Post,[13] selected as one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly,[14] and won the 2008 Shamus Award.[15] Both books were written under the alias Richard Aleas and were optioned for the movies by Universal Pictures.[16]

He received the Edgar Award in 2007 for the short story "The Home Front".[17] Ardai's third novel, Fifty-to-One, was published in November 2008.[18] It was the fiftieth book in the Hard Case Crime series and the first to be published under Ardai's real name.

His fourth novel, Hunt Through the Cradle of Fear, is part of a pulp adventure series he created in 2009, describing the globetrotting exploits of a modern-day explorer named Gabriel Hunt. Authorship of all the books in this series were originally credited to Gabriel Hunt himself.[19]

In 2010, he began working as a writer and producer on the SyFy television series Haven,[20] inspired by the Hard Case Crime novel The Colorado Kid by Stephen King.[21] The first episode of Haven aired on July 9, 2010[22] and the last aired on December 17, 2015.[23]

In 2015, he received the Ellery Queen Award for his work on Hard Case Crime.[24]

In 2016, he wrote a novel based on the Shane Black movie The Nice Guys.[25]

In addition to his writing and publishing activities, Ardai serves as a managing director of the D. E. Shaw group.[26]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1994: "Nobody Wins" nominated for Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus in the category "Best P.I. Short Story"
  • 2004: Little Girl Lost nominated for Edgar Allan Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America†
  • 2004 Little Girl Lost nominated for Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America†
  • 2007: Edgar Award for the short story "The Home Front"
  • 2008: Shamus Award for Best Original P.I. Paperback for Songs of Innocence
  • 2015: Ellery Queen Award (an Edgar Award category "to honor outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry") for his work on Hard Case Crime.

† Written under pseudonym "Richard Aleas."

Personal life[edit]

Ardai is married to writer Naomi Novik.[27] They live in Manhattan with their daughter, Evidence Novik Ardai, born in 2010.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Celarier, Michelle (January 18, 2018). "How a Group of Computer Geeks and English Majors Transformed Wall Street". Intelligencer. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Hong, Euny. ""No idea, no matter how good, is unique." Entrepreneur Charles Ardai on what not to assume in business". Quartz. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  3. ^ "Charles Ardai: Hard Case Shows a Soft Spot for Pulp". National Public Radio. May 5, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Hamilton, Denise (July 2, 2006). "A crime line of passion". LA Times. Retrieved September 6, 2021. after college Ardai landed a coveted job as an investment banker at the D.E. Shaw group. In 1994, Ardai dreamed up what became the Internet provider Juno. When Juno was sold in 2001, Ardai and Phillips, the company’s art director...discovered their shared passion for midcentury pulp
  5. ^ "A Hardboiled Passion". Columbia College Today. November 2004. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Celarier, Michelle (2018). "How a Misfit Group of Computer Geeks and English Majors Transformed Wall Street". NY Magazine. Retrieved September 6, 2021. Soon after the 22-year-old joined, he was tasked with setting up Shaw’s recruiting department. “We’ve filled the company with everything from a chess master, to published writers, to stand-up comedians — people who really excel in one field or another
  7. ^ Grossman, Lev; Stoller, Terry (September 26, 2008). "Single Malts and Double Crosses: Hard-Boiled Books". Time. Archived from the original on January 16, 2007.
  8. ^ The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster--and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust(Sean Ammirati, 2016, page 10)
  9. ^ Rausch, Andrew J (2019). Perspectives on Stephen King: Conversations with Authors, Experts and Collaborators. USA: McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 24. ISBN 9781476674179. Max Phillips and I came up with the idea of Hard Case Crime in the winter of 2001. We had worked together on an Internet company called Juno and it had just sold that fall.
  10. ^ " Charles Ardai".
  11. ^ Stop You're Killing Me, "Shamus Awards"
  12. ^ "Hard Case Crime: Little Girl Lost".
  13. ^ Anderson, Patrick (July 16, 2007). "Neo-Noir That Hits Its Target". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ "PW's Best Books of the Year". Publishers Weekly. November 5, 2007.
  15. ^ "The Shamus Awards". March 28, 2021.
  16. ^ "Crime Novel 'Little Girl Lost' to be feature film for Universal Pictures". Entertainment Weekly. September 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010.
  17. ^ "The Edgar Awards".
  18. ^ Carl Rosen (January 11, 2009). "Criminally Retro: A One-Man Pulp Spree". New York.
  19. ^ "The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt".
  20. ^ "Exclusive: Editor Charles Ardai Discusses Joyland, Working With Stephen King and Producing the TV Show Haven". Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-16. " Interviews Charles Ardai"
  21. ^ "6 ways the new show Haven gives you Stephen King goodness". Sci Fi Wire. July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  22. ^ "Haven – Syfy's New TV Show – Premiere July 9, 2010". Men's Lifestyle & News Spot. July 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  23. ^ "Haven Series Finale". TV Insider. December 18, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  24. ^ "Edgar Award winners announced; Stephen King takes top prize". Los Angeles Times. April 30, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "Read an Excerpt From the Nice Guys novelization". Birth. Movies. Death. May 3, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  26. ^ "The D. E. Shaw Group".
  27. ^ Bosman, Julie (October 11, 2006). "A New Writer Is Soaring on the Wings of a Dragon". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2010.