I just finished reading my second Hard Case Crime novel, Say It with Bullets by Richard Powell. The first novel was The Colorado Kid by Stephen King. Because I’m a giant Stephen King fan, I figured I had to check out the book. And because it was pretty good, I thought I check out some others in the Hard Case Crime series.
This was alright. And just alright. Written in 1953, the story is about Bill Wayne, a guy who got screwed over by his friends and now he’s seeking revenge. In fact, he plans to visit them, one by one, while on a sightseeing bus tour of the American West, and force them to tell him who screwed him and why. The only problem is, and this isn’t part of the story really, Bill is a big tool. He’s kind of an asshole and kind of a wimp. When he visits the first friend, he comes with a big .45 semi-automatic, but then beats the guy up, the guy turns the tables and knocks Bill unconscious. Uhh, dude? Next time, just shoot the guy.
To make a long story short, Bill gets framed for 3 murders. And the tour guide on the bus tour is this schoolmarm who used to have a giant crush on Bill back in the day. Surprise, surprise, Bill falls for her. But not before he behaves like a giant jackass towards her. And by the time Bill gets everything figured out and saves the day, he’s been an asshole to every major and minor character, plus most of the bit players, too. I pretty much wanted to reach into the book and punch Bill right in the face. Finally, in the end, Bill figures out who’s been setting him up and turns the tables and everything works out; in spite of the fact that the hero of the story is a prick and needs a smack upside the head.
5 out of 10 saltines. It was a good read, but Bill Wayne pisses me off.