Sunday, April 18, 2021

Review: Hell Bait

Hell Bait Hell Bait by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of Harry Whittington's famed "missing 38" sleaze novels published by Corinth (Greenleaf) in the mid-1960s when he was on a one book per month contract. Many of those novels hid a crime/noir story in between the sex scenes, which is the case with Hell Bait. Crime/noir with sex scenes. Yes, we have plenty of that now. But one of the reasons the missing 38 are famous is that you couldn't do that back then (unless you went the sleaze route). Gold Medal paperback with explicit sex scenes? No way. Now imagine one of Whittington's Gold Medal paperbacks with those sex scenes. What would you have? Something just like Hell Bait. The crime/noir plot is that Steve Burnette is trying to find out who murdered his brother. However, he's too busy getting laid to do much detective work. I would have liked more investigating, so that's the negative. Loved all the gritty psychological trappings: the biting introspection, the psychological warfare between characters. A brutally raw and honest layer that Gold Medal wouldn't have touched. Hard to find and expensive, but worth it for collectors.

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