RARA-AVIS: William Krasner -- "film noir on the page"

From: e_lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 22 Aug 2006

I recently finished reading William Krasner's standalone, THE GAMBLER. Originally published in 1950 by Harper, the edition I used was the Harper Classic Mystery reissue put out in 1978.

Krasner is best know for his Detective Capt. Sam Birge series. The debut title in 1949, WALK THE DARK STREETS, garnered an Edgar nomination for Best First Novel.

Krasner was once called "film noir on the page" and after finishing THE GAMBLER, I'd agree. The light and shadow imagery he uses in scenes is detailed and descriptive. I liked it. The noir elements ooze off the pages. Ben Wulfson, a small-time craps dealer, has a dysfunctional romance with the pale, sickly Alice. And that's cheerful part of the book.

A St. Louis native and WW II vet, Krasner died a few years ago from a heart attack in Pennsylvania. He brought out several books in the 1980s. Anthony Boucher was a big fan. Krasner has to be one of those noir pioneer writers lost in the turn of the century.

Ed Lynskey

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