Friday, October 9, 2020

Review: My Flesh Is Sweet

My Flesh Is Sweet My Flesh Is Sweet by Day Keene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About a third of the way into this novel our detective writer protagonist Ad Connors is holed up in a Mexican hotel and needs money to get back across the border before the Mexican police arrest or kill him. He calls his agent in New York and asks him to wire $50, a loan against future sales. The agent agrees but tells Ad to crank out a couple of manuscripts. So Ad snags a typewriter from a pawn shop, buys some paper, and heads back to the hotel room to start writing. The first night he cranks out a 15,000 word potboiler - Kill me, MaƱana - but has more difficulty with the second novelette, "It took him two nights, a day, and part of a third morning to get it down on paper." This second manuscript - A Corpse For the Bride, which he thinks less of, actually leads to a big sale. But that is getting ahead of the story. The significance of these two manuscripts Ad cranks out is that they essentially mirror the structure of this novel. The first half of My Flesh Is Sweet is pure potboiler. Ad witnesses a car crash and then rescues the driver, American school teacher Eleana, from the lecherous general whose car she crashed into, but in the process the general is shot and Ad thinks he's killed him. So Ad and Eleana are on the run trying to get back to Texas and it is fast paced and full of disguises and close calls. There is, however, the business of what she was doing in Mexico in the first place, and that is the more involved plot that takes up the second half of the novel. Good fun read with the added kick that you can see a writer at work who was quite aware of his genre's conventions and also how to play with them.

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  1. I've read all of Keene's novels and the handful published by Lion are my favorites. The writer who made the quick sale to pay off an immediate debt is certainly from within Keene's own personal experience.

    (I'm glad you also enjoyed Haven For The Damned, an obvious reverse from one of Whittington's other plot lines ...

    ... David Laurence Wilson

  2. This is on my To Be Read pile and now I'm even more excited to read it.