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A Devil for O'Shaugnessy/ The Three-way Split Paperback – January 15, 2008


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A Devil for O'Shaugnessy/ The Three-way Split + Wild to Possess / A Taste for Sin (Stark House Noir Classics) + The Vengeful Virgin (Hard Case Crime)
Price for all three: $37.18

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Stark House Press; First Edition edition (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933586206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933586205
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,754,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"With Brewer's writing, you think things are going to start tying up, only to have him throw a big surprise your way." --Bruce Grossman, Bookgasm

"Deliriously delicious." --Frank Sennett, Booklist

"He produced some of the most compelling noir softcover originals of the 1950's." --Bill Pronzini

About the Author

Gil Brewer was born Nov. 20, 1922 in Cauandaigua, NY. After leaving the army at the end of WWII, he joined his family who had settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. There he met Verlaine in 1947 and married her soon after. Brewer started by writing serious novels, but soon turned to paperback originals after a sale to Gold Medal Books in 1950. At his height, he was a brilliant writer of sharply defined noir thrillers, usually involving a male protagonist driven to crime by the sexual allure of a young siren. But unwilling to promote himself, his career took a turn for the worse after a mental breakdown, and a long decline into alcoholism. Brewer died on Jan. 9, 1983.

Customer Reviews

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark McKee Jr. on December 10, 2009
To begin, I haven't had a chance to read the new story Devil for O'Shaugnessy which is seeing print for the first time in this volume. The review below will only concern Three-Way Split.

For the last two and a half years, I've found myself devouring 50s and 60s noir books; ever since I read that their style was a primary influence on sci-fi writer William Gibson's. The taut sentences full of action, the sloughing of unnecessary details. To me, if you read noir for nothing more than the writing, you're in for a treat. More than any other type of novel, I find noirs to be like watching a movie in the mind. Since picking them up my favorite entries in the genre have been Elliot Chaze's "Black Wings Has My Angel", Benjamin Appel's "Plunder", Gil Brewer's "Three-Way Split".

Split's story revolves around the typically downtrodden noir anti-hero Jack and his battle of wills with his louse of a father. What makes this story standout from the others is the way Brewer presents it. Everything is so perfectly rendered (the setting, the characters, the situations) that you feel like you know everyone involved personally, could sit down and have a conversation w/ them if you were so inclined. Since the story involves a sunken treasure and battle over ownership, Brewer has several chances to take us underwater and, being skittish around water myself, I would literally pull myself out of reading to find I was holding my breath while the scene played out. That's how realistic the writing was. You felt you had to conserve your oxygen because you didn't know when you'd reach surface again, in many case, much like the characters who went down.

In Jack's father you have one of the ultimate noir antagonists.
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By Jeff VINE VOICE on August 22, 2012
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This book contains a novel, a novella, and a few short stories. All are terrific. The novel is about a man who comes back to play the long lost heir to a considerable family fortune, in one of the strangest families ever. All our protagonist has to do is murder his 'grandmother' and slip straightaway with the money. Except nothing is as it seems. The victim to be is not doddering, the femme fatale is hiding every thing, and the pet orangutang only seems to be the soul repository of a dearly departed family member.

It takes Gil Brewer a while to get this set up, but when he kicks off the final scenes, we learn that much of what we supposed has been dreadfully wrong, and that no one will be able to survive the consequences unchanged.

The novella involve a down on his luck charter boat captain with a father from hell, who has come back to visit, just as the charter boat captain thinks he may have found sunken treasure. The father is a truly despicable and impossible to get rid of character. Brewer takes what could be a cookie cutter character and imbues him with real life. I was thinking James M. Cain as I was reading this book, and that is a fine compliment!

I'll call out the short story, Love...and Luck, for excellent plotting and a very nice surprise ending.

If you're never read Gil brewer before, you're in for a real treat. Stark House Books is to be commended for republishing such fine work!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Baron Von Cool on August 29, 2010
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Just finished reading THE THREE-WAY SPLIT (1960) and this is a great, action-packed example of noir writing at its best. In this grueling noir adventure tale, Gil Brewer never lets you catch your breath, forcing you to turn the page because you just know it's going to get even better (and by that, of course, I mean worse for the hero). A down-on-his-luck skipper discovers buried treasure on the bottom of the ocean only to have his get rich quick salvage plans jeopardized by his monstrous father and the trouble he brings with him. Seriously, the father character is one of the most messed-up pieces of work in all of noir fiction and you just love to hate him because you you can't wait to see what horrible thing he'll do next! Add to this more conflict with the good girl love story (including some hot and heavy sex scenes for the time) and you have one hell of a book. My previous experience with Gil Brewer was Hard Case Crime's reissue of The Vengeful Virgin which, like THE THREE-WAY SPLIT, was another story that grabbed me by the throat. But THE THREE-WAY SPLIT is even better! Don't miss it.

On the other hand, the previously unpublished A DEVIL FOR O'SHAUGNESSY (1971), took some getting used to. The author's sparse, hard-hitting style (with no words wasted) had changed over the intervening decade, becoming needlessly verbose with archaic words most people have never heard of such as "peregrination", "nepenthe" and "perspicacious". These bizarre, two-dollar words have no place outside of academia and only serve to jar the reader out of the narrative and go running for a dictionary. Frankly, the story could have benefitted from some ruthless editing.
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