Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book Review: Bruno Fischer, The Fast Buck (1952)

It may have taken me longer to finish The Fast Buck than any other Gold Medal novel I have read. The problem is that, for at least the first half of the book, Bruno Fischer's plot keeps resetting itself--every time events seem to be leading somewhere, things more or less start over. As a result, I never felt much compelled to pick up the book and read (or to read for very long once I had picked it up). The novel is narrated by Bert Peake, a somewhat likable lifelong hood (with time out for service in WWII) who wants to make some fast money and then maybe play life straight. He goes begging for work at the door of Ted Lumm, a childhood friend who is now a major player in organized crime. Lumm may or may not or may or may not have someone for Bert to kill, but he definitely has a memorable femme fatale, Lorraine Callender, to throw in Bert's path. The climax of the novel, when it finally does come, is not very climactic. My advice is to skip this one. Grade: C-

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