First published by Doubleday in 1932 in the depth of the Great Depression, an era whose seamy side it depicts, and only recently rediscovered, 'Fast One' by Paul Cain (one of the mystery men of American literature) explodes into real life with the story of one of the toughest characters ever to emerge in American fiction.
Paul Cain is the pseudonym of Peter Ruric, a man who emerged from nowhere in the 1930s, wrote 'Fast One''and several short stories and movie scripts, and then disappeared. Nothing more has been heard of him. Gerry Kells, the antihero of his shocking, brutal novel, is equally mysterious. A loner with a reputation but without a visible past, Kells simply appears, arranges the lives of the Los Angeles underworld, and then is heard no more.
Only the strong prosper in the world of the depression. Seemingly amoral, Kells does prosper. He strikes to survive, kills without conscience, without time for conscience. But he never becomes a mere killing machine. His integrity, his humanity, abides in a code demanding that he pay for all services: those rendered for him, those rendered against him.
Fast paced and very readable, the novel limns a true character who should take his place in our national literature, if only for his representation of the individual will to survive in one of the toughest times in American life.
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