Between 1951 and 1967, Gil Brewer published 30 noirboiled novels. Here are my picks for the must-reads and the must-avoids:
The best . . .
Hell’s Our Destination (Gold Medal, 1953): Brewer found his voice in his fifth published novel. Bleak House in the Florida swamp.
A Killer Is Loose (Gold Medal, 1954): Brewer thought that this tale of an everyman and a psychopath was his best novel. He may have been right.
The Brat (Gold Medal, 1957): The title character is perhaps Brewer’s most memorable femme fatale—and she’s got a lot of competition.
A Taste for Sin (Berkley, 1961): Or maybe this novel contains Brewer’s most memorable femme fatale. Conveniently, she happens to be married to a bank clerk.
Memory of Passion (Lancer, 1962): An ambitious narrative blending a busted marriage and a serial killer.
The worst . . .
Some Must Die (Gold Medal, 1954): Brewer’s attempt at a western. Much of the prose is incoherent.
The Angry Dream (Mystery House, 1957): Thin plot with a laugh-out-loud ending. Also published as The Girl from Hateville.
Appointment in Hell (Monarch, 1961): Even a plane crash in the wilds of South America cannot dampen the horniness of the human spirit.
Sin for Me (Banner, 1967): Brewer running on fumes, lurching his way to one last noirboiled paycheck.