Sunday, April 6, 2008

Book Review: Paul S. Meskil, Sin Pit (1954)



This highly collectible paperback from 1954 (a decent copy runs $300+) was given a primitive reissue by Gryphon Books in 2004. In the reissue, Gary Lovisi hails Sin Pit as a forgotten noir masterpiece, and he's more or less right. My only gripe is that the novel is so lean that sometimes it reads more like an outline for the book than the actual thing. But one could just as easily count this is a virture: Hardly a word is wasted in Sin Pit, and it hits all the right noir notes along the way--even if it doesn't hold some of them for very long. This was the only novel written by Paul S. Meskil, who wrote a brief afterword for the 2004 reprint. In it, he writes, "My original title was 'Blood Lust' and they changed that title without my knowledge. I also originally wrote the book in the first person." In fact, Blood Lust is a much better title for the book. Hard Case Crime would do well to give this book a proper reissue with its original title restored. As for narrative point of view, Meskil's novel was published in first person, so his comment on this point simply leaves me puzzled. Perhaps he originally wrote the book in third person? Grade: A-

2 comments:

  1. Did you read the reprint only? Perhaps Meskil fixed some editorial fiddles, there. Sounds promising. I need to catch up with Lovisi's productions...among so many others.

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  2. I've seen only the reprint.

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