Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Review: Marvin H. Albert, Devil in Dungarees (1960)

Beyond its regrettably dated title, Devil in Dungarees is an excellent PBO. In particular, I was pleasantly surprised by its wandering third-person point of view. The novel begins with its focus on Walt Bonner, a good cop gone bad who is helping a gang of thieves to rob a bank. Having read more than a few books like this, I thought I could see the formula that was coming: Marvin H. Albert would soon show me the cruel events that had led Bonner to this desperate moment, and the narrative would expect me to feel sympathy for him and maybe even root for him. This assumed, however, that the third-person narrative would follow only Bonner. In this, I was wrong. After only a few pages, Bonner temporarily exited the stage, and the novel made its first shift to another third-person POV. Albert had me on my toes, and he kept me there for most of the novel. I do not mean to imply that Devil in Dungarees attempts anything innovative or daring in its narrative structure. Rather, I note that Albert made enough interesting (and sometimes dark) narrative choices to win me over. This one may not be at the top of the genre, but it is well above most of the heap. Grade: A-

No comments:

Post a Comment