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Someone Is Bleeding by Richard Matheson
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Someone Is Bleeding (1953)

by Richard Matheson

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"Someone Is Bleeding" is Richard Matheson's first novel. It is an odd, atmospheric piece that builds up slowly in a sort of lost, dream-like life and, although at first, it seems like not much is happening, bodies start to pile up and suspicion and accusations are thrown about.

Matheson takes a David Newton, a writer, and pairs him with Peggy Lister, an ethereal blonde with legs that goes on forever, but is an emotional basketcase, having survived several traumatic experiences. Newton falls for her hard but she jumps from emotion to emotion and is excited about the oddest things. They begin by having a sweet handholding romance but Peggy is a little odd. She isn't your normal femme fatale, but almost without trying she has all these men twisted around her little finger. Is it a talent or a curse?

Peggy is also hooked up with her lawyer, Jim, an old college buddy of Newton's. There is a tug-of-war over Peggy between these two men and she has a curious past. Throw in a few bloody murders and boy do you have a story.

As a reader, throughout most of the story, it's hard to be sure whether Newton is telling the truth, whether Peggy is absolutely cuckoo, or whether they are all being manipulated.

What makes this story work isn't the plot necessarily, but the slow way it develops. Although it all takes place in sunny Southern California, there's nothing bright or sunny about this one. It is a world of fog and darkness. Even the carnival on the boardwalk has its dark side.

In some respects, it a raw first novel by a writer still finding his voice, but it has a lost and rootless quality about it that really makes it work. These people are consumed and trapped by their suspicions and their obsessions and seduced by their passions and desires even when they should know better. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
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It was a pretty brisk day, as I recall.
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Young novelist Dave Newton is instantly smitten when he meets blonde, beautiful Peggy. But Peggy has a past full of abuse and terror-and she's involved with Jerry, a lawyer with mob connections and an old rival from Dave's college days. Soon, Dave finds himself caught in a love triangle with Peggy and Jerry, desperate to win her affections. But when corpses begin to pile up in Peggy's wake, Dave must face the truth that either Jerry is a mass murderer-or Peggy is.… (more)

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