Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Review: Gil Brewer, —And the Girl Screamed (1956)

Cliff Reddick. Cliff Reddick. Cliff Reddick. As I was reading this book, I kept having to repeat the narrator's name to myself so that I would not forget it. Though this behavior is generally not the hallmark of a memorable book,
—And the Girl Screamed is by no means terrible. On the whole, reading it was rather like watching Gil Brewer cash a check. He's doing his job, going through the motions to earn his pay. Cliff Reddick is an ex-policeman who has been implicated in a murder that he had nothing to do with, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thus, he works to solve the murder while trying to evade the police who want to arrest him for it. To my mind, this is lazy plotting: The book would have been much more interesting if Reddick had actually been connected to the victim in some way, rather than just happening upon the murder scene. As the plot progresses, Brewer mixes in some 1950s hand-wringing about the rise of juvenile delinquency, and then he wraps things up and heads to the bank. For diehards only. Grade: C-

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