Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Never Say No To A Killer

Stark House Books imprint Black Gat has reissued this lost classic 1956 crime novel by Clifton Adams, a hardboiled paperback author best known for his Westerns. The short novel is fast-paced and ultra-violent. Fans of Men's Action Crime Pulps will find a lot to enjoy here.

In the opening chapter we meet Roy, a violent inmate contemplating a bloody break from his life as a chain gang prisoner. The crisp first-person narration recalls Dan Marlowe's Drake series in that the reader finds himself rooting an unapologetic sociopath.

The aftermath of the chain gang escape attempt thrusts Roy into a "Man on the Run" story with plenty of twists and turns. His desire to indulge his sexual appetite after a five-year prison hiatus while making some quick cash drives much of the plot's tension. There is an interesting subplot involving an S&M sex partner that made the story veer into a "50 Shades of Mack Bolan" theme. The erotic scenes were ahead of their time in that regard.

Roy is a thinking-man's violent sociopath. He is more amoral than immoral, and has adopted the philosophy of Marquis de Sade and Fredrich Nietzsche as a rationalization for his blackmail, lies, and murderous tendencies.

Man, this is a great novel. There's not a slow moment in it. The violent scenes are vivid and blood-soaked. The pace runs into overdrive through the final page. Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as possible. It will make you want to do a deep dive into Clifton Adams' other fiction.