Sunday, April 10, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "Blackmailer" by George Axelrod

Hard Case Crime. In paper, whenever possible, because it only adds to the experience for these titles.

A few months back, I read a post at a blog, Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books, about a book that sounded kind of interesting. As I read it, I thought it sounded pretty good and was about to do a search at Munsey's and Inkmesh to see if I could find it for free or cheap, when I scrolled down and saw that it had been re-released through Hard Case Crime. Hey!, I thought, I own all of those!

Decent, if lightweight. A pretty quick read, and I have to admit that I was surprised by the twist that I thought I saw coming. I like it when I read or watch something and grow frustrated, thinking it's all so obvious, and there's an honestly-won upending of my expectations. "Thought you were clever, eh? Thought you could read it from a mile away, eh? Ha!" Of course it was deliberate, and the author left clues and made insinuations that were supposed to make me think what I thought. There's still a confidence in storytelling, though, if you're willing to string people along like that.

That said, it's pretty good for what it is. It doesn't transcend the genre or anything, but it provided a couple of nights of fun as I read it.

Some good bits:

Standing there in the blazing sunlight I suddenly realized a basic fact. I'm against killing people. (p.76)


Anstruther's style was widely imitated. It is, when you come right down to it, a matter of using short sentences and having your characters speak tersely about death and the exotic scenery. (p.124)