Friday, September 25, 2020

Review: Campus Tramp

Campus Tramp Campus Tramp by Lawrence Block
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Long before Lawerence Block hit the big time with his Matthew Scudder crime series he was cranking out two sleazers a month for the likes of Midwood and Nightstand. Campus Tramp, written under the Andrew Shaw byline, was Block's fifth novel. In comparing this to Donald Westlake's Campus Doll, I'd say it has more depth, more nuance, and more style and voice. The main difference is that Block seems to be having fun with it and Westlake seemed to be going through the motions by then. The plot here is straightforward: Linda is going away to college determined to lose her virginity. She quickly falls for the editor of the school paper, beds him, moves in and becomes obsessed. He dumps her and she proceeds to work her way through all the men on campus. On the verge of being kicked out of college, she rallies, quits the guys and the booze and starts cramming three weeks before finals. Until, just before her last final she finds out she is . . . wait for it . . . pregnant. What is she to do? Do hills look like white elephants? Not great, but not bad for a book written in a couple of weeks. Fun to see Block's early style developing.

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