Tuesday, June 16, 2020

DETOUR by Martin M. Goldsmith

A violinist named Alexander Roth is hitching rides across the country on his way to Los Angeles to be with his actress girlfriend and gets waylaid along the way by unfortunate circumstances. This essential, classic noir stands out because of its strong writing. Many of the pulp novels back then, because of their quick turn out, felt hastily written, but this one really feels like a little more time was taken to craft the work. Another thing that stands out and that I expect felt different back then was the parallel storytelling, jumping back and forth between Roth's predicament and the story of his girl Sue and her life in Hollywood as a struggling actress. I loved the way the twists in each story revealed themselves and what they meant for the other plotlines. I wish there was a little more substance to Sue's story beyond her pining for love though. But with a cool plot, good writing, a ruthless fatale, and doom-filled atmosphere, this one should definitely be included on any noir bookshelf!


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