Sunday, March 20, 2022

Review: Sugar

Sugar Sugar by Gil Brewer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Uneven - at times exciting and propulsive, yet also frustrating because I can feel Brewer making this up as he goes. Was starting to lose interest and then just before the midpoint, in pages 60-68, blammo! Two major plot twists and Brewer has the story off and running again. Not without some more wheel-spinning though, as if Brewer couldn’t quite figure out where to take things - including a scene that literally involves a car stuck in the mud spinning its wheels (yes, the unconscious is a cruel master!) - but the last 70 or so pages (160 total) really rip as it is one complication after another and the first-person narrator is in a constant state of agitation. Brewer at his best brought the hallmarks of Woolrich and Poe - narrators consumed with obsession, paranoia, agitation, all converted to tension and suspense - to noir. His style tends more to short paragraphs than Woolrich and Poe, and that gives a propulsive pace to Brewer's books. This style is ever-present in Sugar as we have Jess Cotten, who owns a business selling and installing air-conditioners, in the throes of desperation because he needs money, money, MONEY. He's the everyman who crosses the line into crime when he meets the minx Selma and she asks for his help to get the MONEY she and her murderer boyfriend stole and hid. Brewer is so good at describing the sexual tension when he has his everyman and femme-fatale alone in a room, but rarely is this tension consummated. There are 4 or 5 of these tease and deny scenes in Sugar. Too bad Brewer didn't write for Midwood or Beacon or some of the other sleaze publishers!

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment