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This is an enjoyable listen. Kenneth Fearing, who was a fine poet (and a drunk and a marxist) turns out to have had an excellent touch with fiction. The pleasures here are in voice and attitude as well as in the various portraits, some more detailed than others, of various mid-century new yorkers -- chain-smoking drunk-at-midday spouse-cheating 50s noir new yorkers. The writing is better than the story deserves. It's a slow developing murder story that leaves our protagonist in what should be a terrible bind -- but it lacks any suspense -- and the psychology behind the characters and situation becomes strained as well. The story ultimately resolves rather abruptly and without any punch.
But the narrative faults, which are not apparent until at least 2/3rds of the way, don't kill the book. It's worth a listen. The main character, George Stroud -- jaded, sardonic, self-contained -- is a very dry martini in human form. He's good company on an overcast day. Joe Barrets voice seemed too raspy to me at first, but he seemed to have a very good grasp of the characters, particularly Stroud, and brought them effectively to life. His performance grew on me steadily throughout the book.
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Impossible to pidgin hole this tale, not a mystery in the traditional sense. It takes place in a large magazine publisher, where the hero gets involved with the bosses lover. He is caught up in her death and the details by which he extricate s himself are exhibited with genius. The whole business is a tour de force worthy of the highest praise.