The fat man sad: "Put your hands up, Skinny." Kells shook his head slightly.Fast One
The young man in the raincoat leaned forward and slapped Kells across the mouth. Kells looked up at him and his face was very sad, his eyes were sleepy. He said: "That's too bad."
- p. 70
is a book I feel like I've been meaning to read forever. Hardboiled crime stories from the 20s, 30s, and 40s were pretty much the first books that I started really reading for fun -- I still remember buying Hammett's The Continental Op
and going from there-- and oh so long ago I made lists of authors and novels that I wanted to get to. There's still a lot there that I haven't reached (Raoul Whitfield's Green Ice
is one, Leigh Brackett's No Good From a Corpose
is another) but I'd heard pretty early on that Paul Cain (as opposed to the more famous, and unrelated, James M. Cain) was an unsung hero of the genre's early days.
It is possible that my expectations were a little too high. I think I'd gotten to the point where I felt like Fast One
would be the most amazing thing ever, a unique and supernaturally well-done crime novel. The book isn't exactly the most amazing one ever, but it is a fun, compact, violent little book that does (thankfully) do a lot of things differently.
So our anti-hero in Fast One
is a man named Kells. If that made you think of The Book of Kells
, then good for you! You're cultured! I thought of this guy
. Constantly. The whole book caused a parade of R. Kelly references to run through my head.
Anyway, Gerry Kells, of Fast One
, is a WWI veteran and ex-mob enforcer who's trying to go legit. Legit, to him, means making all his money from gambling instead of shooting people. Naturally.[Read the rest on my blog!]