A Hell of a Woman by Jim Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Down on his luck salesman Frank Dillon meets a girl named Mona who's being abused and practically put on the street corner by her elderly aunt. When Dillon finds out the aunt has over a hundred thousand dollars hidden in the house, he plans to kill her and run off with Mona. Unfortunately, this book was written by Jim Thompson...
Nobody writes noir tales about the wheels coming off an already shaky plan like old Mr. Cheerful himself, Jim Thompson. A Hell of a Woman is a tale very nearly from the James M. Cain mold. Man meets woman, bumps off someone in order to be with her, then quickly descends into madness.
Frank Dillon coming unglued is a testament to Jim Thompson's skill as a writer. As things start coming unraveled, Frank's cracking is very believable. The way his personality splits into two parts was very well done and quite jarring toward the end.
That's about all I can say without giving too much away. This is definitely an upper tier Jim Thompson book. It's an easy four stars.
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