Memory of Passion by Gil Brewer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Over and over as I was reading this book I would break out into spontaneous gleeful and admiring laughter because Brewer was so twisted, so out of control, and yet so in control of this propulsive bit of tease and deny pulp fiction. Totally channeling Poe and Woolrich at their obsessive best, Brewer, with a blistering style of short sentences and short paragraphs takes the foreplay of tension to the limit. The light is red, the tachometer is at the line, the tires are smoking - won't this light ever turn green?! - and then Brewer releases the clutch (plot twist!) and we blast forward and then quickly skid to a stop and do it all over again, engine racing at an impossibly high idle. Over and over and back and forth between multiple obsessed points of view. Bill, who thinks Karen, his old girlfriend, has contacted him after 22 years. Karen/Jean, stalker, stalking Bill. Walter, serial killer, stalking Jean. Louise, Bill's wife, having an affair. From one to the next we go, but always, the narration is from the view point of extreme obsession. Don't expect depth in this psychological noir. The minds, driven by Brewer's breakneck prose pacing, are racing way too fast!