Friday, February 10, 2023

Review: Park Avenue Tramp

Park Avenue Tramp Park Avenue Tramp by Fletcher Flora
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although similar in theme and style to the late-1950s novels by Lawrence Block and Orrie Hitt, Flora's style here also has a lot of similarities to David Goodis. At times the narrative is more from within the characterizations as opposed to being description or armchair psychoanalysis and the style frequently gets poetic. Went on a bit at times with needless dialog and backstory rumination and that put me in speed-read mode for large chunks of the book, but I could say that about most of these pulps. The basic plot centers around a young woman married to rich older husband. She is a lush and has one-night stands. Her husband hires a private investigator to follow her and make sure no serious relationship develops. When it does, muscle is brought in. Interestingly, the writing is strongest during the sections when the narrative focus is turned over to the investigator. He is bitter, hateful, and fantasizes killing the husband and being with the wife. The writing in these sections is dark and totally "inside" voice and if Flora had given this character more space to act this novel had the potential to be a great crime-noir. As it is, the crime comes at the end, and although critical to plot resolution, it is a small part of the book.

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