From: e_lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 14 May 2007

I finished reading Peter Rabe's JOURNEY INTO TERROR (1957). It's book 11 of the 18 he wrote from 1955 through 1960 for Gold Medal. JOURNEY (cited in Geoffrey O'Brien's "Hardboiled Checklist") is packaged with THE BOX in the terrific Rabe omnibus available from Stark House Press (2003).

This classic noir pivots on John Bunting's obsession over avenging the death of his fianc饠Ann Jackson killed by a stray bullet during a robbery. Bunting, a young electrical engineer, grows enraged, calculating, and relentless. He finds out that Saltenberg, a local racketeer, ordered the robbery, and Tarpin led the gang. After John meets Linda, the widow of Saltenberg's late accountant, they learn Tarpin is in Manitoba, Florida, (near Miami) operating a pinball machine racket.

The narrative then shifts with their "journey" (in Linda's car) to confront Tarpin in Florida. Rabe innovatively contrasts the settings of wintry New York (Bunting's plan) with sultry Florida (Bunting's execution). Bunning gets a job assembling pinball machines for Tarpin and plots his payback.

The edgy romance Bunting has with Linda intensifies his ambivalence and also prevents JOURNEY from slipping into a formulaic revenge noir. I like how the characters' dialogue and mannerisms are sharp and true whether in a cathouse, lunch counter, or Florida bar. Rabe, a Ph.D. in psychology, builds plenty of introspection in the scenes, especially the troubled Bunting and Linda trying to figure each other out.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 May 2007 EDT