My first Gil Brewer.
I'm having a Pulp Writers binge right now, and I've always wanted to read him. What better time than now?
The best Noir can be a far more intoxicating experience than I can find reading almost any other kind of Crime Fiction. Why? Well, I think it's because it exposes truths about the human condition that other types of Crime fiction barely hints at. There’s a fullness in the best noir fiction that’s almost impossible to find elsewhere in genre fiction.
The narrative here is so crepuscular that it often feels like there are entire chunks of text missing. In one scene, the novel's main male-character is standing in his house, and in the next scene he will suddenly be in his car (with nothing in-between). There also several instances where a character will repeat something that no one has previously said.
I'm not the typical noir reader. I like to read true noir. I'm not willing to accept something that has a noirish feel, but still craving for a happy ending, or at least an ending with hope. I like Noir Fiction where I fell there's no hope whatsoever. While reading this novel, at times I felt I was reading a Noir Pastiche.
Unbelievability is this book's main sin:
Noraine, "her ever-eager body made me forget that she always meant trouble. But this time I couldn't forget. A man lay with his head blown off and she was holding the gun..."
Lois, "the hot-tighed lush whose big kick was racing through town as fast as her souped-up car would go, hoping that maybe someday she wouldn't be able to swerve away from the stone wall at the bottom of the hill..."
Jeannie, "there was a time when her body was fresh and firm and lovely; but now she was making her money the hard way - in the small back room of a sleazy neighborhood bar..."
All of the above three women are keen on killing the guy... In sum, conventional noir ... that crashes and burns.
I'm not sure whether this novel can be viewed as a template for his other novels. If that's the case, this one was my last Brewer.