Title: Night Train
Author: Kenneth Millar
Cover artist: Samson Pollen
Yours for: $22
Best things about this cover:
- I think there is a single scene in this book that is set in a jazz club. Why they have completely de-crime-fictionized this cover, I don't know ("A Bold Story of Fierce Desire"??), but I'm glad they did—the painting is fantastic: vibrant and chaotic. You rarely see a black woman in the position of sexy dame on these covers—very nice.
- I like the guy right behind her—the guy you are very likely to miss if you're sucked into either the playing/dancing or the steamy glance between Ms. Bar Lady and Mr. Ne'er-Do-Well. The guy behind her—he's the one I want to know. He's either tailing that guy, or he's just thinking "Really? That guy? She must be working some angle..."
- Love the guy in the foreground with the cigar! He is sooo happy to have that cigar!
- What is up with the letter spacing on the tagline? Letters get closer together as title moves left to right. It's like a 3rd grader wrote it by hand and ran out of room as she approached the right margin
Best things about this back cover:
- This is (pretty much) the cover of the original Lion edition of this book (which I own ... hey, wait, I've already blogged it—it's here! Check out the art parallels)
- Ross Macdonald was (understandably) saddled with the "Chandler/Hammett" mantle early on in his career, and despite a period of phenomenal fame (peaking around 1970), he just wasn't the artist either Hammett or Chandler was, and hasn't had their longevity. I know I am in the minority here, but I'm not a big Macdonald fan; I especially don't care for the Lew Archer stuff. Archer's just a smarmy, dull, self-righteous Marlowe. A Not-Marlowe. A Marl-faux. Sadly, he's also the model for virtually every P.I. that came after him.
- There is more than a "trace" of Freud in Macdonald's work; when reading Macdonald, I often feel like I'm reading a novel whose sole purpose is to illustrate some concept from Psychology 101. If I remember correctly, though, this pre-Lew Archer stuff is pretty tight and entertaining.
Mrs. Tessinger was extraordinarily vivacious. Her bosom seemed higher than ever, and her waist tighter.
That's a nice, lecherous eye the narrator has there.
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