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Seven Slayers by Paul Cain

Seven Slayers (edition 1994)

by Paul Cain

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672178,380 (3.45)None
Title:Seven Slayers
Authors:Paul Cain
Info:Vintage (1994), Edition: First Edition, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:noir, crime, hardboiled

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Seven Slayers by Paul Cain



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The characterization is thin in all but a couple of these stories. Actually, those are pretty thin too, but at least there is enough description that you can keep the characters straight as you read. Cain excels at short, terse descriptions, mood setting, and, to a lesser extent, dialog. No surprise that he was a screenwriter writing under a pen name. Reading most of these stories is like being dropped into a dense fog somewhere and having no idea where you are. These don't make great late night reading because you need to be awake to make sense of things. That said, most of these stories are worth reading, and one, "Pigeon Blood", would make a hell of a movie. Or maybe it already did.... ( )
  datrappert | Nov 30, 2013 |
Paul Cain is one of the least known hard-boiled writers of the ‘30s. While Hammett, Chandler, and Burnett achieved great success in the pulps and Hollywood, Cain remained obscure though he produced memorable work in both fields.

The classic hard-boiled hero is a PI, someone who stands partway between the law and the Underworld (to use a phrase coined by Race Williams, the original hard-boiled hero). But a PI is nonetheless a product of the legit world, essentially a free-lance policeman. Cain liked to bring his protagonists from the other side of the equation, he focussed on gangsters who acted like detectives. While the utter corruption of Poisonville in Red Harvest was an exception in Hammett’s writing, corruption is the basic norm of Cain’s stories. The cops and politicians are on the take from the crooks.

  DaveHardy | Aug 2, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679751858, Paperback)

Seven brutally ingenius tales of murder passionate and cold-blooded, written by a poet of the hard-boiled.

There's Black, a stranger in town, who gets drafted into a gang war just because he had the bad luck to trip over a corpse on his way from the station.  There's the glamorous Bella, whose boyfriends have the distressing habit of stabbing one another while she naps in the next room.  And of course there's Johnny Doolin, who hires himself out as a bodyguard--only to find that his client has no interest in staying alive.

The men and women in Seven Slayers are exactly what the title promises:  people who kill for love or money or for the sheer, perverse joy of homicide.  And this riveting collection is one of the few surviving books by Paul Cain (aka Peter Ruric, aka George Sims), a hard-drinking, enigmatic writer of the 1930s who had as many pseudonyms as he had wives and of whom Raymond Chandler wrote that he had reached in his fiction "a high point in the hard-boiled manner."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:57 -0400)

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