- Paperback: 170 pages
- Publisher: New Pulp Press (September 20, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0981557996
- ISBN-13: 978-0981557991
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,477,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Red Scarf Paperback – September 20, 2010
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Top customer reviews
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If someone from the publisher were to leave a note here stating that the typos have been corrected, I'd considered amending this review to reflect that. Until then, I'd urge anyone interested in this old-timey slice o' noir to carefully inspect the ebook sample before downloading.
I suggest anyone who's interested in Brewer's life check out Bill Pronzini's article about him at mysteryfile [dot] com.
Update: The publisher weighed in (see below) and I've amended the number of stars I'd give this book. I've kept the body of the review intact for the record.
THE RED SCARF starts with poor old Roy Nichols stopping for coffee at a side of the road diner, hitching his way home to deliver some bad news to his sweet wife Bess. Roy's poor all right -- dead broke. He and his wife poured their dreams into a roadside motel, but now the place is ready to go into hock and cost them everything. His brother bailed on a loan, and now he's in a fix. Enter one knock-out dame, a seedy boyfriend, and a briefcase full of cash, and Roy's suddenly seeing things a whole new way, pitting his scruples against the need for cash that could save his and his wife's dreams for good. But one bad turn after another brings trouble home to roost, and we're left cheering, groaning, and hoping it works out ... hoping against hope, of course, because by the time things hit a stride, the situation looks grim indeed.
This was a tight read, fast moving, and really gripping. It's certainly in the ballpark with Cain, Woolrich, Goodis, and Thompson (et al.), though not to my mind on par with their best work. Still, given that this book was published at a time when lots of stuff like this was available, it's definitely better than average. Perhaps it's not fair to measure everyone against the high water marks, but when it comes to this genre I can't help but compare. That said, even the masters faltered at times, and while THE RED SCARF missed a couple opportunities to go a little farther toward the edge, the sheer frantic energy of the writing, and the way he gets inside the head of poor Roy Nichols, convinces me that Gil Brewer's work is worth further study. THE RED SCARF is good stuff, definitely recommended for fans of 1950s noir.
**NOTE: I have seen some folks complain about typos and formatting in the eBook version. I only came across a few typos and didn't find them distracting; however, about halfway through the book, something was wonky. The text was really small for the last half of the book, so I had to bump the text size way up to make it similar to the size at which I'd been reading first part of the book. Despite this, I refuse to rate a story based on its formatting. Hopefully New Pulp will rework the file and upload it again so more folks can enjoy this book.
As I read the book, I had Fred MacMurray's narrative voice from DOUBLE INDEMNITY in my head. It was a perfect fit.
My only small complaint is the New Pulp Press ebook edition that I read had a few too many typos and text conversion errors. Brewer deserves better than that. However, I am pretty sure that this was a free ebook, so I can't complain too much.
A noir classic. Recommended!
This was the first of 100+ Kindle purchases I've made that actually froze frequently on my Kindle reader despite a second download.
After I first published this review, which criticized New Pulp Press for putting out an error-riddled edition, I contacted them directly to let them know about all errors. They assured me they'd be corrected. On September 8, 2012, I received notice from them that the corrections to the e-book edition have been made, so readers can now enjoy the book without the irritations and distractions such errors induce. Their responsiveness is commendable, and I look forward to reading some of the other novels they've published.