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Baby Moll (1958)

de John Farris, Steve Brackeen (Pseudonym)

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Unavailable for more than 50 years, this classic noir--written under the pen name Steve Brackeen--is back in print. Former Mob enforcer Peter Mallory finds himself drawn back into a life of crime when his old boss is stalked by a vicious killer. Original.
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"Baby Moll" by John Farris is one of those Hard Case Crime novels that reprint (or print new) hard boiled crime noir novels, mostly from the heyday of the genre. This one focused on a former mobster named Pete who has left the life and is living happily and about to get married when his old boss summons him back home because someone is trying to kill him and he needs Pete help to strike back. Why does Pete go? Because his old boss threatens to tell his fiancee. So Pete goes. And almost gets killed. A lot. And chases around some clues as to who is trying to kill his boss. It was actually very boring and I stopped paying attention less than halfway through, therefore, I don't know who was trying to kill the boss. I'm sure it was mentioned, but I missed it. ( )
  bekkil1977 | Feb 10, 2018 |
"Baby Moll" is narrated by a man named Peter Mallory. He owns his own bait and tackle shop on the coast of Florida, is an upstanding member of the community, and is engaged to the daughter of a wealthy businessman in the community. But though his current life is nothing short of picturesque, his previous existence was just the opposite. Years prior, he once worked for a man named Macy who ran an organized crime syndicate in southern Florida. Macy "saved" him from a drunken existence and put him to work for him as a bean counter and occasional strong arm for the organization. Eventually, though, Mallory got fed up with the life and retired after several years of service.

Shortly after the story begins (as we knew it would, given the exposition), Mallory gets a visitor from his past. It is one of Macy's men, and he has come to secure Mallory's services. As it turns out, Macy has also encountered troubles from the past. In the days when he was building his empire, he and several men operated an extortion racket with local businesses. One business refused to pay up, so he and his crew firebombed the building to send a message. Little did they know that the family was actually living above the store. The owner and his wife perished in the flames, but the little girl survived. Now, members of the crew originally responsible for the fire are turning up dead, and left by their bodies are news clippings detailing the events of the fire. Macy has begun to fear for his life, and he wants Mallory to come back and find the killer. Initially Mallory resists, but Macy threatens to divulge his past life to his soon to be wife, and Mallory relents.

Mallory returns with Macy's henchman to the mob boss's base of operations. There, he sorts through the strange array of personalities in Macy's personal life and organization. He also tangles with the competing crime syndicate and fends off no less than three supremely horny dames that constantly try to bed him. Seriously, women come out of the woodwork to throw themselves at this guy. The machismo pumps through him like heroine through a junkie's veins. It's unabashedly chauvinistic, and that's probably why I like it so much. Not that I'm much of a chauvinist, but I am a bit nostalgic for the days when writing was filled with over the top, unapologetic manliness--as you can probably tell by some of my reading choices. But I digress...

I won't divulge the other events in the story, but I will say that I called the ending about halfway into the story. And as you can imagine with a story from this publishing line, lots of people die. It's a fun, sexy, action-filled romp that I quite thoroughly enjoyed. And Farris is a good writer, too. His story telling style is concise but artful, a difficult balance to strike, but one that I admire. As long as you aren't easily offended by gender stereotypical roles, this is a book that will be enjoyed by most fans of the mystery/crime genre. ( )
  WillyMammoth | Apr 1, 2011 |
Another fun reprint from HCC. This one throws in a little curveball to keep ya guessing as to which screwed-up dame is at fault.

John Farris wrote the novel and the screenplay of The Fury, which AMC replays regularly and is worth watching for a variety of reasons, although the story isn't necessarily one of them. (The movie is, however, a lot of fun, and it packs in a lot of stars-before-they-were-stars, as well as some stars-at-the-time.) ( )
  hairball | Aug 14, 2008 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
John Farrisautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Brackeen, StevePseudonymautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
McGinnis, RobertAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Originally written as by "Steve Brackeen"
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Unavailable for more than 50 years, this classic noir--written under the pen name Steve Brackeen--is back in print. Former Mob enforcer Peter Mallory finds himself drawn back into a life of crime when his old boss is stalked by a vicious killer. Original.

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