Pulp poems, book reviews, and other tidbits from the noirboiled world
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Book Review: W. L. Heath, Violent Saturday (1955)
Length: 124 pages. Title: VIOLENT SATURDAY. Given this pair of facts, I was surprised by the relatively leisurely pacing of this novel. The story is set in the small town of Morgan, Alabama, where three strangers from Memphis arrive to rob the local bank. The first half of the book (and then some) consists of character portraits as we get to know the three robbers and the locals who will somehow be affected by their crime. And this is what provides Violent Saturday with much of its drama: As we are meeting our cast of Alabamians, the unstated question hanging over their heads is, How will they be involved in Saturday's violence? And just how violent does a Saturday have to be to earn the name "Violent Saturday," anyway? The gimmick is sort of like The Bridge of San Luis Rey, but the drama is greater. If you're on the bridge, then you're on the bridge--only one fate can await you. But if you're in the bank on Violent Saturday, there is a wider range of possibilities. Grade: B
A: Excellent. I intend to read it again. B: Good. I might read it again. C: So-so. I didn't mind reading it. D: Bad. I resented reading it. F: Atrocious. I finished it only because I'm compulsive that way.