Sunday, November 11, 2007

Call in the Night - Day Keene

Cover shown is the undated Bill Ewington Books (Aust) paperback edition. Circa 1960s. 111p.

Day Keene (1903 - 1969) churned out crime pulp fiction faster than people could read them. So fast, in fact, that I can't find any reference to Call in the Night in reference books or through Google; perhaps the title was changed for Australian publication.

Latour is a deputy sheriff in a small American oil town. His wife, Olga (she of the "out-jutting, coral-tipped breasts"), appears to resent the fact that he isn't the wealthy oil baron she thought he was when she married him. As well as nursing a grudge about that, Latour also has a number of recent attempts on his life to worry about. When he is framed for raping a teenager and murdering her much older husband, poor Latour's life can't get much worse.

Like many prolific writers of pulps, a lot of Keene's written-for-paperback work isn't much more than a standard plot fleshed out with tough men, misunderstood women, sex and murder. According to Internet mystery sites, some of his work is actually good. Call in the Night doesn't rate as high as that.

I love two things about pulps. One, the frame-worthy cover art. Two, the titles, many of which you couldn't get away with in any other genre. Keene was no exception. Some of his titles include: My Flesh is Sweet, Love Me and Die, Bring Him Back Dead, The Dangling Carrot, Death House Doll, Dead Dolls Don't Talk, Too Black for Heaven, and Carnival of Death.

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