The Sin Fishers by Harry Whittington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another of the "missing 38" vintage sleaze novels that Harry Whittington wrote in the mid-60s under a pseudonym for the Greenleaf/Corinth publishing house, this time as John Dexter. Quite an interesting novel because although it has a crime element - a gambler/gangster and his muscle are tracking and intending to kill his ex-mistress who ratted him out to the IRS - this is much more of a psychological noir. Rafe Fuller seems our focal character at the start as we begin with him following his wife's funeral and he makes all the classic mistakes noir characters fated to doom make, except for a spoiler I won't give away. Whittington, however, jumps the narration around between several characters so that we are continuously enmeshed in different psycho dramas. Characters reacting to their obsessions is what drives the plot and the focus is on the interpersonal drama rather than the action sequences more typical of this era's crime/noir genre. Although published by a sleaze house, the sex scenes are minimal and tame even by 1965 standards, so would imagine that some readers back then were disappointed. All in all, not bad, but there was a lot of repetition, as Whittington was obviously trying to stretch out the word count to fit the 190-page Greenleaf format. If you are a Whittington completist, like me, you'll want to read this, but otherwise you can probably stick to his readily available Gold Medal paperbacks that are much better.
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