From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 31 Jan 2003

THE ROAD'S END, by Albert Conroy, is a classic 1952 Gold Medal.

Dan Ginger is dumped from a bridge into a river with a strong current flowing into the ocean. By a miraculous coincidence, Jim Brill sees it happens and drags Dan into his boat. Dan has lost his memory, but soon discovers that he is wanted for the murder of a young girl named Elsie Daniels. Brill takes Dan into town to confront the sheriff, and Dan is released because of a lack of evidence.More blood is shed and Dan, hampered by his lost memory, desperately searches for the killer before he hangs for the crimes.

Although the story line in Albert's THE ROAD'S END is interesting and reminiscent of Charles Williams (a man desperately trying to escape the clutches of the law), his prose is rough and sometimes awkward. But Albert's real expertise lies in his adamant attention to the women characters' breasts, and the reader needn't venture beyond the first two pages for an example: "'Much better,' I said, trying not to stare at her legs, or the breasts that pointed through the shirt." Two pages later the main protagonist takes a more active interest: "I put my hands around her strong waist and moved them up slowly and held her firm breasts and looked up at her."

These breasts belong to Carol Brill, the eager and willing young daughter of Jim Brill, the man who saved Dan's life. Later, when Dan is reunited with his wife, he is treated to her "surprisingly full, round breasts that thrust against the black material of her blouse." For the benefit of the reader, Albert presents a penetrating, thoughtful and provocative analysis of the difference between his wife's and Carol's breasts: "Carol's tiny figure and young, pointed breasts contrasted with Pat's tall, full-breasted lushness."

But Albert is not complacent with a static breast interpretation. He portrays breasts in an active and dynamic roll: "Her big, firm breasts trembled," and
"Her small, conical breasts rose and fell shakily." In total, a detailed, oft-repeated lest the reader forget, breast description is given for Carol, Pat, Sandra, and Grace.

My only complaint is that there is no breast details for Wilma Geismar, the cold, bitchy sister-in-law, or Ma Brill, Carol's mother. Although it is reasonable that little breast attention would be given someone that Dan was not attracted to, it is nevertheless difficult to grasp a female character without at least some idea of the size and shape of her breasts. Consequently, Ma Brill and Wilma Geismar must be seen as insufficiently drawn.

Albert Conroy is one of the many pseudonyms for the extremely prolific writer Marvin Albert. He wrote the Tony Rome private eye series as Nick Quarry, of which several were made into Frank Sinatra movies.



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