Thursday, July 17, 2014



After reading the fierce first chapter, I was totally surprised to discover that this book was written in 1938! The novel is just as dark, violent, and explicit as anything written today, and I enjoyed every page of it! I can see why the book was such a hit and such a controversy at the same time when it was released. It wasn't until after I finished the first chapter, that I realized that I was reading a revised version of the novel, "updated" by the author for more modern audiences in the mid-60's. After skimming through passages from the original text, I was shocked to find out that the language and some of the content was softened tremendously! When I read hard-boiled noir, I don't want it soft, I want it as hard as can be! So I paused my reading to track down the only edition that I could find with the original text, and that was this one

Described as a "shocking tale of vile, ruthless, gangsterism," it tells the story of the kidnapping and ransoming of the beautiful, innocent, unnamed daughter of millionaire John Blandish. The girl ends up in the hands of the infamous old lady Ma Grissom, and her gang of thieves and killers, including her psychotic son and knife-man Slim Grissom. Months later, the girl has still not been found and her father hires private dick Dave Fenner to find out what happened to her. Her father partly hopes she is dead, because if she isn't, one can only imagine what the Grissom gang has been doing to poor Miss Blandish.

The novel is well-plotted, fast-paced and never boring, with raw and lurid details and vivid characters in the villainous gangsters.  My jaw definitely dropped a few times at the horror of the story and the situation that Miss Blandish was in, being a rich girl that has always been protected by the terrors of the world, being suddenly thrust into something that might ruin her innocence completely. And that ending? Jeez...stuck in my head for days...

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