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Son of Gun in Cheek

by Bill Pronzini

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472460,639 (3.8)4
"I could hardly wait to begin the investigation. Somehow, I firmly believed that (at last!) we were following a course that would clearly reveal -- something!" -- from The Stingaree Murders"The [police] men saluted in the darkness and stole away with furtive tread. They knew the anticlimax was at hand, and their satisfaction was unbounded." -- from The Merrivale Mystery"It beats the devil. It's diabolical. It's fiendish. It's just not right." -- from The Palgrave MummyA humorous and good-natured study of alternative crime fiction, the Edgar Award-nominated Gun in Cheek celebrated the neglected classics of substandard mystery writing. After years of additional research into comically awful literature, author Bill Pronzini returns with Son of Gun in Cheek, a compendium of even more twisted treasures for connoisseurs of hideous prose. Pronzini's lively commentary offers background on each of the stories he cites, providing an informative survey of the genre and its writers, crowned with hilarious excerpts. His lighthearted look at the best of the worst in crime fiction will amuse not only mystery buffs but also anyone with a taste for ham-handed drama.… (more)
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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
I literally cracked up reading this book. I am not one of those who reads anything advertised as "mystery" but truly appreciate those who do. The book is literally full of tongue in cheek reviews of these sometimes long forgotten travesties of mystery literature. I plan to read this again and take some notes this time on what to avoid... or maybe not to avoid. Don't miss this one! ( )
  Veronica.Sparrow | May 1, 2019 |
Like his previous book to which this is a sequel, Son of Gun in Cheek is a pleasant, mostly amusing read. It's main components are Pronzini's summaries of ridiculous plots and his selected quotations from works in what he calls his "
Alternative Hall of Fame." Most readers will probably concur with most of Pronzini's selections, but on occasion, even multiple readings of a passage don't reveal the basis for the ridicule. A couple of prolific authors, Harry Stephen Keeler and Michael Avallone, are consistently over the top in everything they write, with turns of phrase that are memorable for their total lack of logic or standard grammar. The examples Pronzini provides of creative substitutions for "said" are particularly amusing.

The question, of course, is whether to continue down the path to reading some of these alternative classics in their entirety. Is it a better use of time than reading books that are actually good? I suppose if, like me, you're drawn to reading books such as Son of Gun in Cheek and its predecessor, seeking out the further works of Keeler, Avallone, and their ilk might be enjoyable. As a frustrated author, it is always amazing and encouraging (or discouraging--I can't decide which) to see what can get into print. ( )
  datrappert | May 20, 2018 |
Showing 2 of 2
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Pronziniprimary authorall editionscalculated
Williamson, ChetNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I could hardly wait to begin the investigation. Somehow, I firmly believed that (at last!) we were following a course that would clearly reveal -- something!" -- from The Stingaree Murders"The [police] men saluted in the darkness and stole away with furtive tread. They knew the anticlimax was at hand, and their satisfaction was unbounded." -- from The Merrivale Mystery"It beats the devil. It's diabolical. It's fiendish. It's just not right." -- from The Palgrave MummyA humorous and good-natured study of alternative crime fiction, the Edgar Award-nominated Gun in Cheek celebrated the neglected classics of substandard mystery writing. After years of additional research into comically awful literature, author Bill Pronzini returns with Son of Gun in Cheek, a compendium of even more twisted treasures for connoisseurs of hideous prose. Pronzini's lively commentary offers background on each of the stories he cites, providing an informative survey of the genre and its writers, crowned with hilarious excerpts. His lighthearted look at the best of the worst in crime fiction will amuse not only mystery buffs but also anyone with a taste for ham-handed drama.

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