Friday, August 10, 2018

A Night for Screaming

Harry Whittington’s “A Night for Screaming” is a 1960 fugitive-on-the-run story told by Mitch Walker - an innocent man accused of murder - who is dodging the law and finds himself broke and hungry in a small Kansas town after being booted from a freight train the night before.

The local redneck fuzz is less of a concern to Mitch than psychotic Police Detective Fred Palmer who has been pursuing Mitch for the murder. Palmer is a fantastic character - a brilliant and brutal cop who can adeptly quarterback the pursuit, arrest, torturous interrogation, and conviction of any fugitive. When Detective Palmer arrives in Kansas to join the hunt, it’s Mitch’s worst nightmare.

Mitch takes refuge as a migrant worker on the mega-farm outside of town. The farm is staffed by hourly workers as well as forced labor consisting of local prisoners from the county. The owner of the farm is an enigmatic and fascinating character with a lusty and unstable wife who is always looking for a romp with the help.

The less you know about what goes on at the Great Plains Empire Farm, the better. This is a helluva story, and I’m not going to ruin it for you here. Suffice it to say that this one will keep you turning the pages long after you should be attending to your other human needs. Whittington wrote compelling books, and this is among his best. Today’s authors could learn a lot from Whittington’s knack for plotting a tightly-wound, fat-free story. The action in this novel is propulsive and starts from page one, and the unfolding events are never predictable. I read a lot of this stuff, and I never knew exactly where things were headed in this one.

In the beginning of the Stark House Noir Classics re-release of “A Night for Screaming,” there is a helpful bibliography of Whittington’s novels and the numbers are staggering. The Florida native wrote over 170 books between the years 1946 and 1988 making him the “King of the Paperbacks” during an important era of American literature. Stark House’s re-packaging of this classic also includes Whittington’s “Any Woman He Wanted” and an informative introduction by David Wilson. Highly recommended. Purchase a copy here.


  1. I read several times about this book, A Night For Screaming. I called different libraries for it. I also called a few bookstores for it to. No one seems to have it. I know from The Internet that it was reprinted in 2007. This as you know would be 12 years ago. I think because of the time and no one having it someone should reprint it again. I think it would be a good idea to reprint it in its original form. This would be with that great original cover. Also, with the same pages in its original way. If this is such a good book like people say, they should do my idea. It would also be a good idea to reprint it in its original way with the 1 book. It should not be merged with another book like Stark House Noir did. This would be a good idea because it would be cheaper for people to. I think if this person Whittington wrote all these good books, then they should reprint another one. This would be a book called Swamp Kill. He wrote this book under the name Witt Harrison. I checked different places for this on the Internet. I found out it was never reprinted. It looks like a book I would be interested in reading. This E-Mail I gave here is invalid. It is from years ago. It was given to me by someone helping me with Obamacare. It only works when I send messages like this one. If you want to respond back to me with my message you would have to write back. I am giving you my name and address in case you want to. My name is Steven Lantz. My address is 1601 West 5th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11223.

    1. Mr. Lantz, it's too bad that the bookstores you called seem unaware of, but I'm sure you can access it yourself. I found several physical copies of this book for sale at that site, including one for $1.99 plus shipping. I also visited, which is a database of library catalogues, and this book is at several libraries across the US, including Rochester and Buffalo. I'm sure the Brooklyn Public Library can arrange an inter-library loan for a nominal fee, or even for free. Good luck in getting the book.