Thursday, July 19, 2018

Coming From Stark House: The Red Scarf/A Killer is Loose - Gil Brewer

Roy Nichols needs to find some quick cash to keep from losing his motel. The new highway was supposed to go through, providing plenty of business, but now it's been delayed. The bank refuses to help, and his brother turns him down. Desperate and on the way back home, he catches a ride with a bickering couple named Vivian and Teece. They start drinking, then Teece gets spooked, and crashes the car. That's when Nichols discovers that his travelling companions have been carrying a briefcase full of cash. Teece appears to be dead, and Vivian confesses that they have robbed the mob, and begs him to help her escape. But to do that, Nichols will have to lie to his wife the cops...and ultimately, to a very dangerous man named Radan.

Ex-cop Steve Logan is down on his luck. With a baby on the way, Logan decides to pawn his last pistol to a bartender friend. On his way, he rescues a stranger, Ralph Angers, from being hit by an oncoming bus. Angers is an eye surgeon and a Korean War vet, and he has plans to build a hospital in town. Unfortunately, he is also prepared to kill anyone and everyone who gets in the way of his plans. So when Angers manages to get a hold of Logan's Luger, he also drags his rescuer into a nightmare of murder and insanity. Logan becomes a hostage to Angers' plans, and there will be no mercy to anyone who gets in his way.

This Gil Brewer double volume will be available from Stark House in a few months. That's a quote from one of my reviews on that gorgeous cover, and I'm very happy for my words to be sharing space with some beautiful artwork by Robert McGinnis. Man, when I was buying all those Carter Browns and Mike Shaynes with McGinnis covers off the spinner rack at Lester's Pharmacy when I was a kid, I never dreamed that I'd be part of a cover like that someday. This is very cool for me.

Not to mention, THE RED SCARF is a great noir novel. I read and reviewed it back in 2011. But I haven't read A KILLER IS LOOSE, and I remember Bill Crider telling me about it. I thought there was a review of it on Bill's blog, but I can't find it now. Maybe we just talked about the book. But I'm sure looking forward to reading it in the near future, and when I have, I'll be writing about it here. In the meantime, this Stark House edition is available for pre-order, and like everything from Stark House, if you're a fan of great hardboiled and noir fiction, it's going to be well worth your time and money.


Colby Jackson said...

The introduction is by Paul Bishop. You've met him, haven't you? Paul and I did the boxing series together.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big Brewer fan and RED SCARF may be my favorite of his body of work -- great to see it get new life in a tpb reprint (following New Pulp Press' pb reprint a few years ago). I didn't appreciate A KILLER IS LOOSE quite as much as others seem to, based on blog entries I've read over the years, but it is an interesting, quirky piece of noir fiction that richly deserves a reprint as well. ~ Ron Clinton