Monday, July 6, 2015

HELL HATH NO FURY by Charles Williams

What was my batting average so far for staying out of trouble when it was baited with that much tramp? It was an
even zero, and I didn't see anything in the situation here that promised I'd improve very much.
All I can do is chuckle whenever I read about people being in such an uproar recently about the ending of the book and movie Gone Girl. I keep thinking that obviously they've never
really read true classic noir fiction. Because if they had, then they'd know that an ending like that is true to form with the genre and had been done many times back in the genre's heyday! That's how I like my noir: depraved and nihilistic! And this nifty, archetypal, little dark thriller fits right there in that category, with it's tale of a horny, low-life car salesman who's aching to not only bed down a couple of the local ladies, but also to rip off the local bank, which is just begging to get robbed. He quickly finds out that these two goals don't fit very well together.
The smart thing was to get out of here and let her happen to somebody else.
Author Charles Williams was one of the star pulp writers back in the 50's and this is considered one of his best works. It was originally published as a Gold Medal original, titled Hell Hath No Fury, but is now more commonly known as The Hot Spot after the movie adaptation. But The Hot Spot is terribly boring and I definitely prefer the original name. This book is a great example of the classic pulp and Gold Medal tradition, with its tight plotting, suspense, witty, hard-boiled dialogue, its lusty femme fatale ("She was as crazy as frozen dynamite"), and questionable morality. This is an essential one for fans of the genre.
Maybe some day I'll make it and become the only bank director in the world who started at the bottom by robbing the bank and worked his way up by becoming indispensable to a bitch, and the only one anywhere who has twelve thousand three hundred dollars of his bank's assets buried under six inches of slowly rotting manure in a collapsing barn on a sandhill and who intends to let it stay there until the barn rots or the money rots or he rots himself. It's an ambition, and everybody should have one...


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