Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: Gil Brewer, The Bitch (1958)

Tate Morgan is a many-time loser who has long relied on his brother Sam to get him out of tight spots. In The Bitch, Tate faces his tightest spot of all after he betrays Sam's trust and helps to plot a robbery that goes horribly wrong. This novel resembles what I call Everyman noir, in which the main character is typically an ordinary, likable guy who, desperate for money, sets out to commit what seems a harmless crime (but then noir ensues). The Bitch is interesting novel of this type because Tate is an unusually unsympathetic protagonist. (As a title, The Bitch is just a gimmick to sell books--much more accurate would be to call it The Asshole.) Gil Brewer sets himself quite a challenge in trying to make readers care what happens to Tate Morgan, and he is, I think, at least partially successful. Grade: B+

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