My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A deserving classic of the hard-boiled crime genre, Cain’s spare prose is riveting with its minimalism. A character in a few strokes and exclamations. Gerry Kells, a hard-nosed crook who skipped to the city of Angels to gamble, goes to collect his winnings and walks into a politically staged murder. From that moment on he plays every operator against each other with ruthless efficiency and a cunning double-cross nature, daring with a level of violence his foes cannot conceive of attempting. Along the way we get a moll and a chubby gunman named Borg who delighted me with their gallows humor in the face of machine-gun slaughter.
Not a bloody novel, its stark brutality lies in its exposure of the ruthlessness of political machines and the rough men who keep them in power.
A must read for any fan of the crime story. No P.I.’s, just dirty cops, bookies and bootleggers scrabbling for each other’s naked throats.