Okay, I'll admit that this isn't exactly forgotten. Hitt seems to be going through something of a heyday now, and there's even a blog devoted to him. Besides that, James Reasoner's already reviewed this book. But what the heck. I had a copy, so I thought I'd read it.
It's crime/adventure novel set in a fictionalized version of the Philippines, with gun-running and cocaine driving the plot. Hank Storms has agreed with provide guns to a revolutionary group in return for big bucks. Little does he know that the money will be transported by his wife, for whom he has no love at all. The money changes hands a number of times in a series of crosses and double-crosses, and there are several nice little turns in the plot before it all gets resolved.
A couple of things surprised me about the book. One is that it's a political novel in a way. The Cocoa Republic politics are what drive the plot, and Hitt does a pretty fair job of depicting the sad situation of the people living in Sanbolo, a real hell-hole if there ever was one.
The other surprising thing is how mild and harmless this book is. People talk about sex a lot (using no dirty words, ever), and the women are described in loving detail. But the sex? Well, Hank Storms, the heel hero, sleeps with three of them in one night, but there's sure nothing explicit about the encounters. Here's one hot scene:
"You might be more woman than I can handle," he breathed.
"I doubt it."
And she wasn't.
Here's another one:
"You're the first," she whispered.
He didn't go back to the ship until morning.
Now you might be thinking that this is the kind of thing that passed for hot stuff in 1958. You'd be wrong. Gold Medal Books had been hotter than this for six or seven years by 1958. Hitt doesn't even use cuss words. People say, "I don't give a rap." Or they call Sanbolo "the rear end of the world."
I had fun reading this book. It's not great, but it's okay, and it has a great cover. The ending is typical '50s. I don't know if it's typical Hitt.