From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 13 Mar 2003

Jim Beaver wrote: A little belatedly, I've just finished Paul Cain's widely and wildly praised FAST ONE. I can't say I caught the fever. Aside from the ending, which is bleak as they come and worthy of the other Cain, I found the story very hard to follow, motivations cluttered, and characters barely distinguishable. It's good, hard writing, but I had to force myself to stay with it, as I couldn't pick it up again after a few hours and remember who was who and what it was about. Those last three or four pages, though, are worth remembering.
************* A lot of characters do come online fairly quickly. My big complaint is that he's knocked unconscious at least three times, and when he comes to, he immediately springs into tough, fast action. One time he's even got a bullet (shotgun pellets?) in him. It gives the book a marginal sort of comic book credibility, sort of like Mickey Spil- lane's I, THE JURY. Suspense of disbelief is a handy tool for reading pulp.

I also think that he was often beyond terse all the way to choppy. Reminded me of that Hammett story that starts out something like,
"Dick likes Jane. Jane likes Dick." Ridiculous.


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