- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Harper (February 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0066212928
- ISBN-13: 978-0066212920
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,958,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Devil's Wind Hardcover – February 1, 2005
Books with Buzz
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Smooth, callow architect Maurice Valentine scores a calculated marriage to a wealthy senator's daughter, casually names names for Joe McCarthy, designs casino hotels and builds mock suburban subdivisions to be vaporized by atomic testing. But when cool, blonde femme fatale Mallory Walker appears, noir strictures demand that the moral house of cards that is this cynical operator's life be slated for demolition. They also require a thrillingly lurid plot machinery—including a troubled mob patriarch and son, a land scam involving Jimmy Hoffa, heroin, murder, revenge and periodic nuclear blasts—to embroider an elemental struggle pitting 1956 Las Vegas, aka corruption and hollowness, against insurgent beatnik romance. Rayner (The Cloud Sketcher) mines such Nevada gothic sources as The Godfather Part II and Bugsy for inspiration, and he handles his classic pulp materials with style. The novel's tacit theme—why the '50s deserved to be annihilated by the '60s—is conveyed by reiteration of Nietzschean truisms ("[E]verybody wants power.... Power, not goodwill, not democracy, not love," muses Maurice, while Mallory opines, "God quit a long time ago") that combine jaded worldliness with apocalyptic anticipation. Plot twists and betrayals, bomb blasts and unrequited love all add up to a classy neo-noir.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Rayner, an English-raised author who lives in Southern California, has written a Hollywood noir for his sixth book. Filled with money and power, lust and revenge, Devil’s Wind resembles the dark crime fiction of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James Ellroy, and Elmore Leonard. It also has a taste of Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, as everyone’s reinvented themselves a few times over. Rayner’s set pieces and characters-from his casino hotels and Las Vegas parties celebrating A-bomb tests to his gangsters-turned-tycoons, African-American jazz musicians, and cameos by Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Hoffa-evoke the glossy sheen covering the era’s massive social corruption. Only the novel’s plotting, while ingenious, generated some confusion. Still, Devil’s Wind is a fine addition to its genre.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The world of architecture brings in an environment that is different from most other novels and gives us a look at the lives of some interesting people. Throw in a dash of 1950's Las Vegas history and a story full of twists and turns and you have the basis for a good film-noir mystery.
I can't wait to see the movie!
At a party, the womanizing Maurice meets self-claimed heiress Mallory Walker, who seduces him; for the first time in years he wants more. However, he is stunned when, Mallory fires a shot at him. Not long afterward, she is found dead in what appears to be a car accident. However, Maurice knows how sly and deadly his connections are; he wonders if Mallory was murdered and begins making inquiries though he knows that is a mistake. He has to know why she wanted him dead. Soon he will find a strange twist involving an obsessed actress and soon to be someone else's wife Beth Dyer, who sends him seeking Vegas mobster Paul Mantinelli at a gala celebrating the latest atomic bomb test.
The story line is action-packed, very graphic (the scene with the bomb exploding nearby is brilliant), and contains strong characters. The twists and turns will initially shock the audience, but quickly make sense as no one is quite like they seem; just ask Viglioni in his Valentine persona. Richard Rayner provides a wonderful historical (makes me feel ancient to say the 1950s in a historical context) Noir that pays homage to the Barbara Stanwick femme fatale movies.
Forty-five miles across the Nevada desert, a bomb is detonated to vaporize by atomic testing a whole block of houses built just for that purpose. There are a series of periodic nuclear blasts; all of this happened in a blink. It is said that Oppenheimer had remarked at Los Alamos, "I am become death, the shatterer of worlds." He began the research at the University of Chicago where the atom blaster was perfected.
After the big bang at Bikini Atoll where the bomb named 'Gilda' with a full size picture of Rita Hayworth painted on it like the cover of this book, (Dolly Parton had her picture painted on a naval ship just this past year.) the government decided that the Nevada desert would be the perfect testing environment where no one would get hurt. The Senate Atomic Energy Sub-Committee decided who got the contracts to build the houses and hospital needed for the experiments.
This was the time Senator Joe Kefauver of Tennessee and his committee were investigating organized crime in America. Of course, Las Vegas had sprung up, but as yet the reputation had not reached Washington. The women in their jaded worldliness and the men with apocalytic hollowness drove some pretty wild cars, Porche, lavender Cadillac with gold trim, an old Bentley, and the 'faux' architect a Studebaker. I had a brother-in-law who collected old Studebakers until the parts could no longer be found to keep them running.
The girl who grows up to be immoral could quote Poe, though she had no idea who he was, the one about "Annabel Lee." That's about the only redeeming factor this book has, the literary references and the history and rumors of the Anti-Communist Reign of Joe McCarthy. Hoffa was even in this one. That's before he vanished off the face of the earth. Maybe one of those bomb experiments out in the desert misfired and took him up in a red mushroom coffin to the sky.