Waltz into Darkness (1947) by Cornell Woolrich

Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“It’s already too late. It’s been too late since I first met her. It’s been too late since the day I was born.

Shy, middle-aged bachelor Louis Durand has a secret. For months now, he’s been corresponding with Julia Russell through a matrimonial agency. When she arrives in New Orleans for their wedding, however, Louis receives a big surprise. Instead of the plain, older woman he expected, Julia is a charming young beauty.

Durand falls head over heels for his new bride, but she may not be everything she seems. This couple are about to embark on a twisted journey of crime, betrayal, and, most mysterious of all, true love. Continue reading “Waltz into Darkness (1947) by Cornell Woolrich”

The Blackbirder (1943) by Dorothy B. Hughes

The Blackbirder by Dorothy B Hughes

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“Terror was a luxury. She couldn’t afford it now.”

Julie Guille first heard about the Blackbirder on the night Maxl died. As a French war refugee who is in the United States illegally, the last thing Julie wants is to catch the eye of an old acquaintance, especially a German. She agrees to dine with him only to avoid a scene. “She smiled at him. Her smile looked real. She had learned to form it that way.” That night Maxl tells her the amazing story of a pilot who smuggles refugees across the Mexican border, a man they call the Blackbirder.

When Maxl is stabbed to death in front of her apartment building, Julie knows she will be the prime suspect. Only one person can help her escape: the Blackbirder. To find him, she will have to make her way across a strange country, using the skills she learned in wartime France. With the FBI and the Gestapo on her trail, Julie will need every bit of her courage and intelligence if she hopes to survive. Continue reading “The Blackbirder (1943) by Dorothy B. Hughes”

In a Lonely Place (1947) by Dorothy B. Hughes

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B Hughes

10 Stars(10/10 stars)

“He has to live with himself. He’s caught there in that lonely place. And when he sees he can’t get away—” Brub shrugged “Maybe suicide or the nut house—I don’t know. But I don’t think there’s any escape.”

Someone is killing women in Los Angeles. Maybe it’s someone like Dix Steele, a war veteran drifting around the city, claiming he’s writing a book. A man who views most other men with contempt and women with something worse.

Yes, maybe it’s someone very, very much like Dix… Continue reading “In a Lonely Place (1947) by Dorothy B. Hughes”

The Brick Foxhole (1945) by Richard Brooks

The Brick Foxhole by Richard Brooks 1945 book cover

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“If I had to draw a picture of hell, do you know what it would be? An enormous mouth whispering into an enormous ear. And never stopping.”

As World War II rages, the greatest danger one American soldier faces is from his own tortured psyche. Jeff Mitchell is an animator of propaganda, stationed at a small-town military base outside Washington DC. He feels useless with no chance of going into combat. Trapped in a fetid atmosphere of sex, violence, and boredom, he becomes convinced that his wife, Mary, is being unfaithful. If only he could be more like his mentor, Pete Keeley, who has just returned from the Pacific. If only he could kill… Continue reading “The Brick Foxhole (1945) by Richard Brooks”

Nets to Catch the Wind (1952) by Dolores Hitchens

Nets to Catch the Wind by Dolores Hitchens 1952 book cover

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“We came here to offer our sympathy,” Mrs. Poggett stuttered.

“Do you think I need it?”

A routine prison transfer goes terribly wrong when a gunman opens fire on a crowded train. The targets are convicted murderer Fred Tzegeti and his police escort Robert Luttrell. With a pile of cash found beside the bodies, local authorities are eager to hush up an apparent case of bribery. They reckoned without Amy Luttrell, who will do whatever it takes to clear her late husband’s name. Her quest for vengeance leads to powerful enemies who are just as determined to keep their sins buried—even if it means another dead body. Continue reading “Nets to Catch the Wind (1952) by Dolores Hitchens”

Sleep with Strangers (1955) by Dolores Hitchens

Sleep with Strangers by Dolores Hitchens 1955 book cover

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“Money could do a lot of things in this world. It could build you a castle, Sader told himself—or a dungeon.”

There are two kinds of money in Long Beach, California. Old money means prosperous Midwesterners who settled there a few decades ago; they speak only to each other. That’s Felicia Wanderley. New money comes from oil, and they tell themselves they have more fun without those snobs on Ocean Avenue. That’s Perry Ajoukian.

As far as anyone knows, these two have never met. They have only two things in common: both vanished on the same night, and both families retained the firm of Sader and Scarborough to investigate. It’s up to Sader and his partner Dan to learn whether Mrs. Wanderley and young Ajoukian are connected by one more thingmurder. Continue reading “Sleep with Strangers (1955) by Dolores Hitchens”

The Black Path of Fear (1944) by Cornell Woolrich

Book Cover of The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich (1944)

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“She’d never liked the dark; I remember her telling me that many times. She’d never liked to be alone in it, either. And now she had to go there, where that was all there was, just those two things. I stood there, very still and very straight, with my eyes on her to the last.

“So she went out that way, into the black Havana night, without diamonds, without love, without dreams.”

They didn’t ask to go to Zulueta Street, but they ended up there anyway. For Bill Scott and Eve Roman, this was supposed to be the beginning of a new life together, away from her gangster husband. They thought Havana was far enough to run. They thought wrong.

When Eve is stabbed to death in the middle of a crowded bar, their love story comes to an abrupt end. A grief-stricken Scotty is framed for her murder. If he can’t clear himself, Zulueta Street will be the end of the line for him as well.

Continue reading “The Black Path of Fear (1944) by Cornell Woolrich”