Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Faster We Live by Bill Brennan

In the seventh grade a teacher said to me, “There’s better things for you to be reading than these tawdry paperbacks.” I had developed the habit of bringing paperbacks to the study hall, usually stuff that I had found lying around the house, and that teacher didn’t like my choices. Webster defines tawdry as cheaply made and without quality. Well, I still love tawdry paperbacks, although I don’t think they’re tawdry at all. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I suppose a lot of people might consider The Faster We Live by Bill Brennan a tawdry paperback. Published in 1962 by Monarch Books, this lively tale of lust and greed sold for a whopping 35 cents. The cover painting by Harry Barton gets across the idea that the brunette is topless, but without being blatant. It’s a great tease cover. The Faster We Live is a short one, 141 pages, but with small print. Twelve chapters are all it takes, and you’re knee deep in bank robbery and sex. Four amateur bandits are after 200 grand in a local bank. With a plan to use the crowds at the Indianapolis Speedway as cover, they hatch a plan that’s crazy enough to work. One of the men, Ryan Kendall, gets involved with a hot dame named Vicki, but the real trouble happens when the ringleaders, the Thorbeck brothers, commit murder. Throw in a nymphomaniac named Faye and this really is a turgid and tawdry tale of deceit, murder, madness, and even love. I enjoyed the pulsating passion, the cigarette smoke in dingy bedrooms, and the martini hour chatter. The tag line on this one is: “She gave herself to the right man – at the wrong time.” Yep, she sure did.

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