Friday, March 13, 2009

Book Review: Lawrence Block, A Diet of Treacle (1961)

This is the fourth Lawrence Block novel that Hard Case Crime has rescued from oblivion, and the second that they have pulled from the morass of sleaze paperback publisher Beacon Books. The first three titles, Grifter's Game (1961; originally Mona), The Girl with the Long Green Heart (1965), and Lucky at Cards (1964; originally The Sex Shuffle) were well worth saving. Unforunately, A Diet of Treacle (1961; originally Pads Are for Passion) is a much inferior work. The early stages of the novel, which deal largely with beat ennui, are predictably tedious; the character arc of good girl Anita Carbone is not particularly believable; and the book's quick ending all but screams, "Hey, I've almost made my word count! Time to wrap this one up!" Memo to Hard Case Crime: This well appears to have run dry. Is it too late for you to un-publish Killing Castro and give some other writer a chance? Grade: D

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