Sunday, January 29, 2006
The Barn/Glenn Low
Lurking behind this rather mediocre soft-core porn cover is actually a pretty good rural crime novel. Published in 1961 by Beacon Books, THE BARN features many of the same elements that can be found in a lot of backwoods novels. In this case, the dumb but likable hero visits the Kentucky farm owned by his fiancee's family and finds that he's stumbled into a lot more trouble than he expected. There's the fiancee's oversexed little sister, her hoodlum brother, assorted other criminals, and a lot of action and danger. There are so many plot twists that it gets a little silly after a while, with the characters running around the farm like Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam chasing each other in and out of a bunch of different doors. Most of the story takes place during one eventful night, and that non-stop pace kept me flipping the pages even though the story got more and more implausible. These flaws keep THE BARN from approaching the level of the backwoods novels written by authors such as Harry Whittington and Charles Williams, but it's also suspenseful and fun to read.
Glenn Low had some stories in the Western and detective pulps during the Forties and Fifties, and he wrote quite a few books for Beacon, Novel Books, and other soft-core publishers during the early Sixties. I enjoyed THE BARN enough so that I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another of his books if I came across it at a reasonable price (this one was three bucks in Half Price Books' nostalgia section), but I probably won't be scouring the Internet for his work, either.