Home Is the Sailor by Day Keene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After a career at sea, Swede Nelson comes ashore with the thought of buying a farm in Minnesota and finding a nice girl to marry. It's a shame he runs into the widow Corliss Mason, the owner of the Purple Parrot, and her web of sex, lies, and murder...
Home is the Sailor, much like fellow Hard Case entry The Vengeful Virgin, is straight out of the James M. Cain playbook. You know the plot: a guy falls for a hot young woman and commits murder for her, then starts cracking under the pressure once he realizes she's bad news.
When Corliss comes to Swede the night before their wedding saying she's been raped, who wouldn't do what Swede did? Swede's drunken binges are believable, all things considered. The big reveal near the end was a little obvious but getting there was still one hell of a ride. When the cops start nosing around and Swede begins figuring out what Corliss is really up to, tension mounts and the story kicks into high gear.
So why didn't I give it a five? I found it a little unbelievable that Swede fell so hard for Corliss so fast. As I said before, the big reveal is telegraphed slightly.
If you're a Hard Case fan, this is one of the must-haves.
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