Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: James McKimmey, Cornered! (1960)

James McKimmey was in almost the right place at almost the right time to be counted as one the great writers of noir’s greatest decade, the 1950s. Had he published his first book with Gold Medal in 1951 (as opposed to first appearing with Dell in 1958), McKimmey would be mentioned along with the likes of Charles Williams and Gil Brewer as one of the era’s best, and more than one of his novels (1962’s Squeeze Play) would have come back into print by now. The upside to this, however, is that McKimmey’s OOP books are not exorbitantly expensive, given that they still fly below most readers’ radar. Cornered!, from 1960, is well worth seeking out. The plot centers around Ann Burley, an attractive young woman who provided eye-witness testimony in a California murder trial and since then has improvised her own less-than-ideal witness protection program in small-town middle America. The novel gets off to a fast start when a pair of hoods, who are getting close to finding her, believe that they have been spotted by law enforcement at a local gas station. Grade: B

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