Good story, reminded me of Cornell Woolrich. Ex-con on bender wakes up in dive hotel with mutilated dead prostitute. Door locked from the inside, must escape with no money or clothes and find killer(s) before police find him. Most of the story takes place around Times Sqare area and has a good sidewalk-level feel for the place (a la CW) back in the days when Bloombergville was still Gotham. Well done.
Normally don't read military fiction, esp. WW2, as what happened was far more dramatic than anything novelists can come up with. This 1960 work is an exception. Based on the author's experiences as an 18 year old infantryman in Europe in late 1944. Frightening, upsetting and as horrifying as most of his supernatural tales except this was real.
BC: "Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) is best known today for her "Chronicles of Carlingford" series of novels set amongst the inhabitants of a quiet country town. However, she also wrote some of the best supernatural stories in English and this volume collects one celebrated novel and four ghostly short stories.
'A Beleaguered City', which made the young Robert Louis Stevenson 'cry heartily,' describes what happens in a small French town when the dead return to earth and the materialistic citizens have to confront the 'true meaning of life.' The Scottish-based 'Open Door' is about a restless spirit who threatens the life of a child. In 'Old Lady Mary', a woman comes back from the dead, but finds that 'the place which had been hers knew her no more.' 'The Land of Darkness' is a nightmarish, and surprisingly modern, glimpse of hell, and 'The Library Window', perhaps the most haunting story of all, concerns human efforts to see into the unseen."
A lot of mystery writers rewrite the same story again from different angles, sometimes more than once. Cornell Woolrich and Patricia Highsmith come to mind. This 1954 pot boiler by the overrated DG reads a lot like "The Burglar" only not as good. Contains an excellent intro by Geoffrey O'Brien however.
Tale of forgery and murder in the art world from 1971. The delightful old fraud, Jacques Debierue, French founder of the "Nihilist Surrealist" school of painting now hiding out in the Florida swamps where he thoroughly enjoys American TV dinners,drive-in movies,etc. provides oxygen but unfortunately not enough. This would have been way better done by Donald Westlake.
Gripping thriller from 1953. Sci-fi/mystery hybrids usually don't work for this reader and the author notes the problems of such in his 1983 intro. The story was suggested by editor Horace Gold who said:"How about an overpopulated world in which robots are taking over human jobs?...Put a murder in such a world and have a detective solve it with a robot partner. If the detective doesn,t solve it,the robot will replace him." The mystery isn't anything special but the context in which it is set is what makes it work. A chilling picture of life on an overpopulated earth in which millions are crowded into giant enclosed buildings, people are "classified" or "declassified" according to perceived value and everything is rationed including privacy, personal space and the time alloted to use it. Then there are robots and spacers to boot. TPB
Very good 007er from 1968. First James Bond novel published after Ian Flemings death. Not as good as Fleming's earliest efforts but equal to or better than his other ones especially his last works. Too bad this was Amis' only JB story. TPB
Westlakes' 1960 debut. BC:"Mavis St. Paul had been a rich man's mistress. Now she was a corpse. And every cop in New York City was hunting for the two-bit punk accused of putting a knife in her. But the punk was innocent. He'd been set up to take the fall by some cutie who was too clever by half. My job? Find that cutie-before the cutie found me." Sounds like just another PI tale but the investigator,George "Clay" Clayton, is a mob enforcer trying to protect his boss. Don't know personally but not a very convincing picture of life in the syndicate. Good read though with a great ending. TPB
Pretty good mystery from 1954. If you don't like mysteries, book is also very interesting as social history. While knew that the Hamptons were a wealthy beach town for just about forever, did not know it was also an artists colony. Some of the story involves the social gatherings of both the yacht club swells and the bohemians and Gore Vidal was a man who could very easily move between the two. Too bad he only wrote three of these. TPB
BC: "He wanted out of the big rackets-and the boys said okay-feet first!" etc.,etc. That about sums it up. 1956 story of corrupt pols & gangsters in the slums of Ward 9 is similar to Spillane and Stark (who clearly modeled his character Parker after Daniel Port). If you like those two you'll probably like this; if not skip it. TPB
Excellent mystery from 1956. Corrupt cop in hot water (and getting hotter by the minute) tries to free innocent man from death row. Don't want to say anything else. This is the fourth HW I've read and have yet to read a bad one. This is very good. TPB
Very fast paced thriller of the nautical variety from 1970. This edition has 175 pages but if you subtract the bank pages between chapters it has 171. Also, if the print was normal paperback print (say 41 lns/pg) instead of 27 it has it would be 112, so its a quick read. Not bad.
Early American novel (1827) dealing with life in Massachusetts in the 17th century. Story revolves around puritan rose Hope Leslie and Pequot maid Magawisca and Hope's sister, taken as a child by the Pequots and now married to Magawisca's brother. Good read.
Had only known Chesnutt as a writer of supernatural stories which were done with a humor and charm not usually found in the genre. This 1900 novel is something altogether different, dealing with race, identity and "passing" in post CW Carolinas. Don't be fooled by the soap opera plot; this is serious reading. Recommended. TPB
Morgan,AL April 1955. Pop. 4,700 and located in "Kanawa"county, between Huntsville and Birmingham between an unnamed river and the MS state line across from Tupelo. Follow-up to "Violent Saturday," but not really a sequel as none of the characters are the same. Town appears to be the County Seat or whatever they call it in AL. County tax collector Charley Mott shoots himself. Accident or suicide attempt? He's in a coma and can't say. Are there files missing from his office? Rumors fly. Not a crime thriller like "VS" but a better book and a suspenseful read.