Thursday, May 8, 2014


One thing I love about classic paperback originals are the super pulpy taglines! And this one has a great one:

"She had the face of a Madonna and a heart made of dollar bills."

I love this stuff. :)

The tagline really captured the tone of this hardcore noir, about a convict on the lam named Tim, who spends what was supposed to be one lovely night with a sexy, money-hungry call-girl named Virginia, but which turns into a three-night long love-making session. Afterwards, they're joined at the hip, as she accompanies him across the country and on a heist that could take them both down a fast-lane to easy money, or on a highway to hell.

One really interesting thing about the novel was how volatile Tim and Virginia's relationship was from the very beginning. In many crime novels, the man is initially head over heels for the woman. Not so in Chaze's book! Although the sex is good, both Tim and Virginia seem to hate one another right from the start, even resorting to beating the living hell out of each other one moonlit night on the side of the road.  Throughout the course of the story, there are many times Tim even thinks about killing her or abandoning her. But there is some distant attraction that keeps them drawn to one another, and after they become criminal accomplices, they are destined to stay together until the bitter end, whether they want to or not. This aspect really kept me interested to see how their relationship would play out. 

The writing and atmosphere in this novel is really similar to a Jim Thompson book, and fans of his would love this one. Like most great noirs, the outlook and themes are bleak but the pacing is speedy with an exciting heist. It was also one of the most graphic, and button-pushing classic noir novels I've read (although I've only just started getting into them). I really enjoyed it! 
"She was sitting on the floor, naked, in a skitter of green bills. Beyond her was the custodian, still simpering in death. She was scooping up handfuls of the green money and dropping it on top of her head so that it came sliding down along the cream-colored hair, slipping down along her shoulders and body. She was making a noise I never heard come out of a human being. It was a scream that was a whisper and a laugh that was a cry. Over and over. The noise and the scooping. The slippery, sliding bills against the rigid body.
She didn't know I was alive"

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