Pulp poems, book reviews, and other tidbits from the noirboiled world
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Book Review: Charles Williams, All the Way (1958)
Noir believes in love at first sight—or at least that men are capable of love at first sight—or at least that men are capable of lust at first sight, which they convince themselves is love. Case in point: Charles Williams’ All the Way, in which narrator Jerry Forbes falls at once for Marian Forsyth, allowing her to manipulate him as she sees fit. As is often the case, readers will have difficulty accounting for Jerry’s obsession with Marian, who is not the typical noir sexual bombshell, beyond the fact that the plot requires it. Marian’s plans hinge on the fact that Jerry’s voice is indistinguishable from that of her former boss and lover, and therefore Jerry can impersonate him on the phone as per Marian’s instructions. The first half of All the Way is somewhat slow; the book establishes its premise quickly, but the plot takes a while to get moving. The second half is fairly intense as Jerry encounters unexpected obstacles in pulling off his impersonation. On the whole, this one is well worth seeking out. 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.