RARA-AVIS: Brand and Hammett (possible slight spoiler)

From: James Reasoner ( james53@flash.net)
Date: 02 Sep 2003

I dug out my copy of Faust's crime novel THE NIGHT FLOWER, reprinted by IPL in 1987 with an introduction by William F. Nolan. Here's some of what Nolan has to say:

"One is tempted to speculate that when Faust wrote this novel, in the spring of 1933, he was influenced by Dashiell Hammett's THE GLASS KEY, published two years earlier. Both treat the basic theme of a strong and ultimately shattered friendship between a big-city political boss and his hanger-on. Like Hammett's Ned Beaumont, Faust's Charles Pursivant is a product of the underworld, whose loyalty to his corrupt mentor is deep and unquestioning, a loyalty which leads both characters into a world of pain and personal revelation. And while Faust's treatment of this theme is far different than that of Hammett, both novels share this fascinating conceptual base."

"*Did* Faust read Hammett? We'll never know."

Later on in the intro, Nolan says:

"Aside from a rather charming aura of period romance, this book is as swift, hard-edged, and suspenseful as any crime novel written in the 1980s."

I'm not sure I find the "aura of period romance" as charming as Nolan does
(but hey, it's an introduction, he almost has to say good things), but I do suspect this is a pretty good book, and probably not that hard to find in the reprint edition. Also, Pocket Books reprinted several of Faust's mysteries in the Seventies, all under the Max Brand pseudonym. Worth searching for, for those of you who like the older stuff.


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