The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, she was a virgin at some point...
The story is straight out of the James M. Cain playbook. Jack Ruxton, a broke TV repairman, hooks up with a teenage temptress, Shirley Angela. Shirley and Jack plot to rid Shirley of her invalid stepfather and get her vast inheritance. Almost immediately, things get shot to hell...
The Vengeful Virgin is a thrill ride of conspiracy, murder, sex, and insanity. Gil Brewer's prose is similar to Lawrence Block's and the suspense and desperation is very well done. Things start off wrong and just keep getting worse.
The characters are pretty realistic. Even though officially I'm appalled by the idea of a thirty-ish guy and a teenage vixen, but as a red-blooded male... I can see how things went the way they did. In the beginning, Shirley's a sympathetic character. You feel for her, having her teenage years spent cooped up and caring for her dying stepfather.
The Vengeful Virgin is a gripping tale with a lot of twists and turns. If I wanted to get someone started on the Hard Case series, this is one of the ones I'd point them at first.
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