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The Complete Slayers: Fast One and the…

The Complete Slayers: Fast One and the Complete Short Stories of Paul Cain

by Paul Cain

Other authors: Keith Alan Deutsch (Editor), Boris Dralyuk (Introduction)

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361486,110 (4.5)None
Fifteen stories and one novel-hard-boiled classics by an undisputed master Following gangsters, blackmailers, and gunmen through the underbelly of 1930s America on their journeys to do dark deeds, Paul Cain's stories are classics of his genre. The protagonists of ambiguous morality who populate Cain's work are portrayed with a cinematic flair for the grim hardness of their world. Fast One, Cain's only novel, was originally serialized in Black Mask in the 1930s. It introduces us to Gerry Kells, a hard-nosed criminal who still holds fast to his humanity in a Los Angeles that's crooked to the core. This collection presents Cain's classic crime writing to a contemporary audience. This ebook features an introduction by Boris Dralyuk.… (more)
  1. 00
    Crime Stories & Other Writings by Dashiell Hammett (Thomas64)
    Thomas64: Paul Cain and Hammett were two of the major Black Mask writers.

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I got this at a Centipede Press who did a fantastic job of presenting it. It has pages of color photos of the old Black Mask pulp covers & quite a few others, usually 4 to a page, although there is at least one full page one, plus B&W drawings. An awesome presentation of a mostly forgotten, but highly talented writer - among other things. Cain's bio, what is know of it under his various names (not pseudonyms, but he actually changed his name) is sketchy.

The editors, including Max Allan Collins, did a great job of pulling together all of these stories before they were completely lost. Apparently that was a very tough job. One, "The Tasting Machine" was an early example of bizzaro fiction, very much at odds with all the other stories which were hard boiled detective or criminal.

Cain is very, very terse, often barely sketching the characters & action in his plot driven tales, yet that whirls about in maddening twists & turns. His characters all tend to be amoral, at best. They drink like fish, drug, gamble, & shoot each other down in such numbers that it's hard to keep track, especially since there are entire scene changes occasionally from one paragraph to the next. You can't skim this prose or you'll get lost.

Some elements are very dated & even hackneyed. Many of the stories rise to a crescendo of violence & that makes little sense until the 'hero' explains it all to us in the last page or so. That happened a bit too often. While he did create one of the first female detectives, most of his ladies were supporting characters, damsels in distress or femme fatales. It was definitely a white man's world, although there wasn't a lot of bad racial prejudice.

Overall, it was a fantastic read & a must for any noir detective or hard case buff. Each story is introduced by another hard boiled author & their insight is wonderful, although they all agree that Cain wrote some of the toughest, meanest characters around. His only novel "The Fast One" is included in this as the original 5 short stories. I think I would have preferred to start with it. Great stuff. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Cainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Deutsch, Keith AlanEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dralyuk, BorisIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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