Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Best (and Worst) Novels of Gil Brewer

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.


  1. It's nice to know that I haven't read his best yet but own two of them. It will be interesting to see how the stack up to 13French Street and The Vengeful Virgin

    1. The Vengeful Virgin is definitely in the top half.

  2. Hey, nice post. I've been meaning to read some Brewer and this is as good a starting list as any.

    I've been checking this blog out for a while now. Nice work.


    Andrew Nette

  3. NUDE ON THIN ICE is one of his best

    1. Agreed. Not in my top five, but very good.