Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Vengeful Virgin (Gil Brewer, 1958)

I knew I'd never get enough of her. She was straight out of hell.

Shirley and I generated something together that drowned out conscience. This was just something we were going to do together. And, of course, the money. I wanted it. I would get it.

Shirley Angela was under my skin like the itch and it was going to take a lot of scratching.

He was ready to die. He was old enough. He sure as hell was rich enough.

Doom. You recognize doom. It's a feeling and a taste, and it's black, and it's very heavy. It comes down over your head, and wraps tentacles around you, and sinks long dirty fingernails into your heart. It has a stink like burning garbage. Doom.

Boy meets girl. They are both young, horny and greedy and the only thing standing between them is the girl's rich stepfather. Sounds like a postman is ringing twice, doesn't it? Feels almost like heresy writing this, but in many ways this one is even better than Cain's famous masterpiece.

Basically we know the whole plot (and its ending) after reading just a first few pages. But what Brewer manages to pull off masterfully is the immense build-up of the tension and suspense as we dive deeper into the vortex approaching the inevitable doom of our condemned lovers.

And the trick is that in this crime book there will be no mystery! There are some characters introduced (Victor's doctor, Shirley's horny neighbor, Jack's ex girlfriend) that could (and normally would) form some sort of alliance with one of our protagonists in order to double cross the other. No such thing here, final big twist is basically nothing more than lack of any twist.

And Jack himself - as one would expect from the TV fixer-upper - is pretty lousy killer. To be honest, he's total amateur! He even prepares a list of all the possible fuck ups and then forgets to destroy it so it can be found by the cops when they search his apartment. He also has second thoughts about the whole thing and is prepared to call it off  (He'd croak natural, and everything would be perfect). But of course there's no way out, the greed got hold of him and he's doomed.

Great stuff, just don't expect intriguing story full of twists and sub-plots centered around some colorful anti-hero. Without a question, still pure pulp with both sex and violence pretty graphic and disturbing ending but this is for me foremost a sad, cold and intense book about the dark places in our souls and addictions in our heads.



Jack Ruxton, TV repair man and owner of a small electronics shop.

Miami. But it doesn't really play any significant role except for one occasion when our hero is in the water and gets concerned about the alligators.

Body count: 3

Shirley Angela, confused and horny combination of femme fatale and damsel in distress. Her neighbor Mayda Lamphier (nervous type, and loud). Jack's neurotic ex-girlfriend Grace.

None, but there's a funny description of the nightmare where Jack is chasing Mayda through an endless living room full of TV sets. 

Obviously - and without some major spoilers - it refers to Angela. And the second part is a kind of a twist.

Cool and very hot! By Gregory Manchess. But not 100% accurate - although there is a scene involving piles of money and fire and naked (not just in underwear!) chick with a gun. And for some reason two empty whiskey bottles are missing.

Cool lines:
Not many of witty one-liners or cool descriptions here. It goes as far as "The language she used would have shamed a drunken Marine"

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