Home is the Sailor Day Keene


Hard Case Crime is an imprint which is trying to revive the noir. They have published a couple of real 50's pieces and a larger number of modern-day homage to the genre. This novel by Day Keene is one of the original 50s pieces.

True to the genre, a not very bright male falls, hook, line, and sinker for a femme fatale who, if he had ever bothered to crack open a pulp paperback, he would have recognized from across the street. The whole novel is fairly predictable in its course and even in its denouement. What IS interesting about it is the handling of the noir themes and the leering pulp interest stemming from sexual themes.

The writing, overall, is fine. There are a few clinkers here and there, but for the most part the story chugs along just fine. There are some interesting details about San Diego and Tijuana of 50 years ago. But hard-core investigation or mystery is completely lacking.

For pure mind-free fun, this book was a blast. It's an evening's read, and an easy one at that. However, it really is more of a piece for connoisseurs of older mystery forms and might not have a large audience today. I hope so, because I'd like to see the series continue and I'd love to see the other pieces they revive.

Next stop Randy Wayne White's Captiva. I'll be reading a few of these as prep for my trip down to Naples. All of his mysteries are set in West Florida and have about them the air of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee without some of the weird sexual healing philosophy that tended to pervade those. I'll let you know as I finish, but so far, so good.

As to Home is the Sailor--Recommended with minor reservations.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 25, 2005 7:04 AM.

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