Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: Carny Kill

In lieu of a review this week, I will bring you an entry in Patricia Abbot's Friday's Forgotten Books.

Robert Edmond Alter's
Carny Kill is one of those now cliched tales of Florida weirdos written in 1966 before Florida weirdos were the most overexposed group of weirdos on the planet. (It's been reprinted twice, in 1986 and 1993, both times by Black Lizard, so it's easy to come by. I paid the princely sum of 54 cents for my copy.) Thax, a down on his luck carny (is there another kind?) wanders into Neverland, a Disneyland ripoff. He hits it off with the owner, gets a job, and then finds out May, his professional knife throwing ex-wife is married to the owner.

Thax is the laid back type, so he takes the news in stride and sticks around. When the owner turns up dead with one of May's knives in his chest, Thax starts looking into things, not because he feels anything toward his ex-wife, but becasue he knows the police will be looking at him because of his sordid past and relationship with May.

There's nothing particularly surprising in terms of plot in Carny Kill, but Alter is a clever writer and he makes Thax an appealing sleaze. The world of spielers, nautch girls and other hustlers is vividly drawn and it's a fun place to visit, although I wouldn't want to live there.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

And right about now (in Michigan) I'd like to visit too. Great cover.