Pulp poems, book reviews, and other tidbits from the noirboiled world
Monday, March 15, 2010
Book Review: Gil Brewer, Wild to Possess (1959)
Gil Brewer's Wild to Possess is Everyman noir with an unapologetically implausible plot. Lew Brookbank, a sign painter who has hit the bottle hard since finding his wife and her lover murdered, happens to overhear a man and a woman plotting a kidnapping. (Imagine the kidnapping plot in Fargo, and you're not too far off.) Feeling that he has nothing left to lose, Lew decides to inject himself into the kidnapping in hopes of getting away with the $250,000 ransom. From here, most of Lew's decisions are made with the standard noir justification of there-was-nothing-else-I-could-do. Of course, there are many other things that Lew could have done, as he realizes during his occasional moments of sobriety, but most of the time he is drunk and doesn't give a damn. On the whole, Wild to Possess is fast and entertaining with a number of nice twists and turns, and though Brewer does not find an artistically satisfying way to conclude things, the ending is not bad enough to qualify as a full-blown ruination. Available in a two-fer reprint from Stark House Press.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.