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Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (Midnight Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Horace McCoy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

McCoy’s hardboiled noir classic, about an Ivy League graduate’s criminal rampage through the seedy underground and glitzy high society of an unnamed American city
To escape prison, Ralph Cotter uses the same genius for planning and penchant for cold-hearted violence that helped earn him a spot in the slammer in the first place. On the lam in a city where he knows nobody, Cotter has nothing to lose, no conscience to hold him back, and no limit to his twisted ambition. But in the midst of a criminal spree, a grift leads him to the boudoir of wealthy heiress Margaret Dobson, a woman with the power to peel back the rotten layers of his psyche and reveal the damaged soul beneath.
Vicious and thrilling, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a look at one man’s relentless attack on American society, conjuring one of the most memorable antiheros of twentieth-century noir fiction.
This ebook features an extended biography of Horace McCoy.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

McCoy's hard-boiled thriller was published by Random in 1948. The plot follows its thoroughly ruthless criminal protagonist from a chain gang escape through his rejoining a band of crooks and reentering a life of crime. The book was filmed in 1950, with veteran tough guy Jimmy Cagney in the lead. A gritty, gutsy thriller.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

This once-famous noir novel (by the author of They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) was originally published in 1948 and inspired an excellent (and long neglected) James Cagney film. In a grating and deliberately stiff style that reflects his arrogant egotism, college-educated ``Ralph Cotter'' (his alias) relates the story of his escape from a prison farm, involvement with willing and dangerous women, and complicity with a corrupt establishment dominated by crooked cops and lawyers that he thinks he can bend to his own invincible will. Cotter is a pugnacious, violently sensual Middle American Raskolnikov, and his remorseless amorality resonates as chillingly today as it must have 50 years ago. Aficionados of hard-boiled fiction who think that Hammett, Cain, and Jim Thompson set the standard ought to take a look at Horace McCoy. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 469 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1852424338
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (April 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's Bad All Over August 19, 2003
This is a first-rate gangster book told in the first person from the perspective of Ralph Cotter, a thoroughly evil man. It's a terrific example of noir fiction. It's violent, gritty and tough, exploring the dark underbelly of a corrupt city.
Beginning with a prison breakout and re-establishment back into his life of crime, Ralph proves to be a violent, self-centred man. His life revolves around making money, and if that means robbery and murder is involved, then so be it. He is joined by Holiday, a jealous, suspicious and spiteful gangster's moll of low-morals who is prepared to sleep with any man who walks through her door, and Jinx, a small time crook happy to hang on to the coattails of Ralph's criminal genius. They are all a group of criminals who are anything but reliable, willing to rat each other out for any price.
The unnamed city in which the book is set is filled with corruption, from the criminals themselves to the crooked cops who police it. The grab for money is intense and morals are non-existent.
As with all noir stories, there are no good or nice characters, most of them are pretty repugnant people, and there is no chance of even a remotely happy ending.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slam tough noir June 24, 2002
Here's a 1948 hardboiled novel that almost reads like it could have been written yesterday. Not quite, but almost. It's the real McCoy, not a fake. The words are hard as nails--occasionally dipped in acid and that makes this all the more what it's spozed to be.
Take a con who's Ivy League educated and has warped aspirations of making himself as corrupt as possible. Yeah, do that, and at the same time, let him keep his three-dollar words to throw in when he feels like it, when he wants to prove--to himself, mostly--that he's a hell of a lot more educated than the guys he 'admires': Alvin Karpis, Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger. It's a potent mix, and McCoy does it up just right. The language is not stupid; it's perfect, reflecting the main character (Ralph Cotter)'s twisted psyche. Everything's from his point of view.
You got your shysters, your corrupt cops, your wicked women. Oh yeah, you got 'em, all right, but when they're in the picture, the dialogue snaps like a wet Coney Island towel wielded by a wiseguy.
You wanna good read that reminds you of American knowhow--as in I know how to push your buttons, buddy? I know how to give you a story that tells you about the things Americans think about, but don't talk about.
This is it. This is an egg whose shell you can't break. That's how hardboiled this is.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling reading. February 9, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fiction doesn't get any more noir than Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. It's a gangster tale told by a gangster. And not just any gangster at that.
Ralph Cotter is evil incarnate. He's an amoral criminal who kills in cold blood. But unlike most other murdering thugs, Cotter is a cultured, educated man. His Phi Beta Kappa key is probably the last thing he ever came by honestly. To make everyone aware of his intellectual superiority, he freely uses five dollar vocabulary words and regularly makes obscure references to the classics.
Following a harrowing escape from a prison work farm, Cotter shacks up with a slutty gun moll named Holiday. It doesn't take him long to find corrupt police officials he can blackmail into doing his bidding. And his charming demeanor allows him to become romantically involved with the obscenely wealthy daughter of an ex-governor.
Is the plot of Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye a believable one? Of course not. I doubt it was meant to be. This is an allegorical novel. A fairy tale for adults, if you will. The novel's strength lies in its ability to convey certain truths about human fallability through the very detailed and astute introspection of the repugnant but fascinating narrator.
Both Cotter and the book itself have an overpowering audacity that makes for very compelling reading. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is an original work of crime fiction that embraces the noir tradition and takes it to a whole new level. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Horace McCoy's Ralph Cotter character is a remarkable exception in U.S. gangster novel history. Unlike Donald Henderson Clarke's Louis Beretti, William Burnett's Little Caesar, Armitage Trail's Tony "Scarface" Camonte, or also James Cagney in the movie "The Public Enemy", who are ill bred gangsters created by the system, moving in big cities they know by heart and surrounded with people they've been knowing since their childhood, who kill only to eliminate the competition, Ralph Cotter - or whatever his name is, we'll see that Cotter is not his real one - is an individual, educationed one, a gangster of his own, with his own hates and fears, escaping from a prison farm and coming in a city he doesn't know - and which is never named -, getting involved with dangerous people he doesn't know.
But he's smart, gutted and above all, totally immoral and in spite of all he manages to dominate his world, using generalized corruption and blackmailing to do what he wants, turning the situation up side down, for his own benefit.
But even a guy like him can't do anything againt the system. When he meets Margaret Dobson he doesn't know he just entered a world of lies and compromising. After a while Margaret presents him as her husband to her millionaire, overpowerful father, who doesn't like it at all. When he's gone Margaret says they have to go and get married at once. Of course Ralph - who meanwhile took the name of Paul Murphy - doesn't want to get married but she uses some verbal threatening to force him, he can't do anything. He refuses the money for annulment of the marriage, in order to get rid of her and not be chased. But by doing this he doesn't do anything but seduce Margaret and her father, who finally chase him. The Dobson family gives Margaret to him for a million dollars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a far better book. I urge you to look for it ...
I'm a huge fan of Horace McCoy. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and I Should Have Stayed Home are five-star favorites. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye didn't click for me. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. and Mrs. Buddy Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Noir Tale By A Top Notch Writer
Horace McCoy is best known for his classic, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" which became a movie by the same title. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dave Wilde
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece
Ralph Cotter, a criminal with a university degree, with the help of another convict's sister, bribes a guard and escapes from prison, in a shootout killing his escape partner. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Ray Garraty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
An awesome read, pure hardboiled, gritty detective work in the classic style. A pure noir story from cover to cover.
Published 23 months ago by KOOKOO
4.0 out of 5 stars About as noir as they come
Narrated by a murderous psychopath escaped criminal, this book packs a lot of mayhem in a very short time frame of a couple days. Read more
Published on May 19, 2013 by Joel Cairo
2.0 out of 5 stars blah
I don't know why this book ever got any good reviews. To me, it's just a rambling story with a lot of violence (mild, maybe by today's standards) and the characters don't have much... Read more
Published on May 3, 2013 by float tuber
5.0 out of 5 stars The narcissistic narrator shining brightly
McCoy is one of those undeservedly forgotten noir writers from the 30s. In this work, his narrator pours open-ended derision on just about everything and everyone, and, as reader,... Read more
Published on August 10, 2012 by The Captain
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force of hardboiled noir fiction,
Published in 1948 at the start of what scholars consider the beginning of the Noir/Paperback era in crime fiction (and the end of the hardboiled era of authors like Dashiell... Read more
Published on June 8, 2012 by Robert Carraher
5.0 out of 5 stars A nearly forgotten treasure
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye begins with an escape from a chain gang and ends with an escape of a different sort. Read more
Published on May 8, 2012 by TChris
3.0 out of 5 stars A little unsatisfying, but still a classic
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is hardboiled fiction in the finest tradition. Whatever you believe pulp noir or hardboiled writing is, you'll find it here. Read more
Published on March 21, 2011 by Michael Fishman
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More About the Author

Horace Stanley McCoy (1897-1955) was an American novelist whose gritty, hardboiled novels documented the hardships Americans faced during the Depression and postwar periods. McCoy grew up in Tennessee and Texas; after serving in the air force during World War I, he worked as a journalist, film actor, and screenplay writer. He also wrote five novels, including They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935) and the noir classic Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1948). Though underappreciated in his own time, McCoy is now recognized as a peer of Dashiell Hammett and James Cain. He died in Beverly Hills, California, in 1955.

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