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The Complete Crime Stories by James M. Cain
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The Complete Crime Stories

by James M. Cain

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James M. Cain - The Complete Crime Stories is a 2015 Mysterious Press/ Open Road Integrated Media publication. I was provided a copy of this book my the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Most people equate the name James M. Cain with his famous hardboiled crime novels such as “The Postman Always Rings Twice”. But, Cain also wrote wrote short stories for magazines, as well as screenplays.

This is a collection of seventeen short stories by Cain, none of which I had ever read or even heard of, and I actually considered myself a fan. So, hats off to the publisher for collecting this outstanding group of stories and putting in them into one volume and in digital format.

Now, a brief word about the these stories:

The stories are all pretty short, some longer than others. While labeled as crime stories they have a kind of pulp quality to them and many are just dark essays on the underbelly of human nature. While many years have passed since these stories were written, they still pack a punch, and could be shocking to even the most jaded modern reader. No holds barred, no politically correct watered down dialogue or actions and some may even be offended, especially when it comes to the treatment of women in some cases.

However, I did enjoy reading some more obscure works by this author. I couldn't pinpoint a story I would call my favorite in the collection, but the first story - “The Baby in the Icebox” was the perfect lead in and stuck with me. Not all stories were to my liking, but for the most part the stories are quintessential Cain and one can't help but caught up in his signature prose.

If you are a fan of this author, or of the hard boiled style of writing, you really do want to pick this one up. Cain's unapologetic style of writing and his insight into humanity's dark side is absolutely riveting even in small, contained stories like these. So, even if you aren't all that familiar with the author, this is a nice way to familiarize yourself with a true legend in this genre.

4 stars ( )
  gpangel | May 29, 2015 |
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Seventeen gripping tales from one of the toughest authors in the history of crime fiction They call him Lucky - but he has never had a lucky day in his life. A nineteen-year-old hobo just starting to ride the rails, he is hiding in the coal car when the railroad detective comes through. They get into a scuffle, and Lucky's hand finds a railroad spike. Before he knows it, he has smashed the investigator's head and shoved him out of the car. If he hurries, if he's lucky, he will get back to Los Angeles in time to establish an alibi, burn his clothes, and avoid the electric chair. But as Lucky will discover, the deadliest threat is lurking within his own mind. "Dead Man" is just one of the outstanding stories included in this volume. The author of some of the most hard-boiled prose ever written, James M. Cain understood fear in all its forms - and knew better than anyone the terror of a killer on the run.… (more)

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