Monday, May 5, 2014

THE BIG CLOCK by Kenneth Fearing


Due to it's awesome concept, I had great expectations for this short novel. The plot is tailor-made for a great noir. After George Shroud, a crime magazine editor, has a night-long fling with his boss's sexy girlfriend, she ends up with her skull bashed in. His boss is determined to find the man she was with that night and gives the assignment to the very man he's searching for, George himself. Now George must try to steer the investigation away from himself and towards the person he truly believes killed the girl. 
"She was tall, ice-blond, and splendid. The eye saw nothing but innocence, to the instincts she was undiluted sex, the brain said here was a perfect hell."

One clever thing that the author, Kenneth Fearing, did was reveal more and more details about George's character every time his team discovers new information about the "mystery man."

But the narrative takes a lot of meandering turns, especially in the beginning. I didn't really care about all the details of the magazine, or all of the philosophical musings about the "big clock." Fearing also never truly milks the concept to it's full potential. But once the story got going it was engaging enough to be enjoyable. 

An instance where the awesome movie (one of my favorite film noirs) is better than the book.

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