Thursday, March 24, 2011

Red Hot Ice by Frank Kane

And now back to our regularly scheduled paperback addiction…

This weeks pulp gem from my bookcase is Red Hot Ice by Frank Kane. Published in 1955 by Dell, this “Johnny Liddell Mystery” had a great tag line: “She was an alcoholic blond with a load of hot diamonds – a set-up for murder on the rocks.” The back-cover copy is equally smooth: “It started when he was hired as a baby-sitter to a wildcat, and stacked better than a deck of marked cards. And she had a cool $200,000 worth of hot diamonds. There was just one hitch. She used bourbon instead of perfume.”

The writing is fairly straight-forward and a little less hardboiled than it might have been. Liddell seems clearly modeled after both Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. This was grind house writing for the paperback racks that were once a fixture in retail establishments across the country. With books like this you get lines like: “Her legs were long, sensuously shaped. Full, rounded thighs swelled into high-set hips, converged into a narrow waist. Her breasts were firm and full, their pink tips straining upward.” (p.27)


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