Thursday, June 7, 2007

Everything I Consume: Lucky At Cards

One of the first detective books I ever read was by Lawrence Block. I forget what it was called but I remember two things from it. One, the detective takes a date to a Chinese restaurant and they both get the same fortune. I've been waiting for that to happen to me ever since. Second, at the mid-point (where detective writing books tell you you should have a major plot twist) two seemingly unconnected cases are connected totally out of the blue. I now know that's a pretty common twist but it blew my early teen mind.

This book is from the early sixties. It's not bad, typical of the good but not great output from Hard Case. If you like hardboiled you'll like this. It's about a professional card cheat who winds up in an anonymous midwestern city after he's told to leave Chicago. He is pulled between his life of crime and surprising success at a straight life. But wouldn't you know it, a femme fatale pulls him back in.

I thought the book had a nice start but it petered out. There were a few very good scenes when a woman reveals she knows Maynard, the protagonist, is a crooked dealer and another towards the end when the main character is on the lam. The style is very pulp-like reminding me Jim Thompson and Ross MacDonald. There are some good sex scenes written in a lurid early sixties style as befits a book originally released as The Sex Shuffle (I definitely need a bedroom move with this name). I didn't like the happy ending which seemed tacked on.

I'm selling it if you want to buy it.


Steve Buccellato said...

Huh. I don't know. That's almost a good enough review to make me want to read it, but not quite.

I don't know if your sales technique is going to work, Brett! (always be closing, god damn it!)

Brettson said...

Fuck you, that's my name.

Hey, honesty above commerce.