Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Gil Brewer, Sin for Me (1967)

Sin for Me marked the thudding end of Gil Brewer’s seventeen-year career as an author of noir paperback originals (1951-1967). Conventional wisdom says that the 1950s were Brewer’s artistic glory years and that his 1960s output was spotty at best. More accurate is to say that Brewer was more prolific in the 1950s and therefore wrote more good novels in that decade. (He wrote more stinkers in the 1950s, too.) Sin for Me has all the elements of a top-tier Brewer novel patched together ineptly. A pair of femmes fatale and $400,000 in stolen cash upend the life of Jesse Sunderland, an everyman realty agent whose woodenly introspective first-person narration plays a major part in spoiling the fun. Brewer justifies each turn in the narrative with a three-part formula: (1) Jesse has an intuition about a character or an event; (2) Jesse immediately decides that his intuition must be true; (3) therefore Jesse’s intuition is true. At times, you can almost hear Brewer whispering into Jesse’s ear, “Come on, man, we can make that word count—I know we can!” An unfortunate end to a great run. Grade: D

No comments:

Post a Comment