Sunday, August 30, 2020

Review: The Sucker

The Sucker The Sucker by Orrie Hitt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The title gives the end result away just as the voice over at the start of a film noir does. Slade Harper won a gas station in a card game and has been running it for a couple of weeks when a red convertible drives up. Midge Dalton is driving, but Slade isn't interested in him. He has eyes only for the passenger, Ruth Talley. So when Midge offers Slade a job at his mail order auto parts business, Slade knows he is ditching the gas station and chasing after Ruth. And thus begins a classic noir tale where Slade seemingly has the upper hand but of course he is "the sucker" and we know that Ruth is outsmarting him the whole way. Plenty of plot permutations to keep this one interesting, even if the end result is never in doubt. Slade is the first person narrator and he is under no illusions about what a bastard he is, but Hitt does a good job of giving him the blind spot that leads to his downfall, one that we readers can see coming. That provides a nice edge to the narration because we know something Slade doesn't even though he is telling the story.

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