Okay, this is a brand-new book. It's not even for sale until August (you can order it now, though). But it's a reprint of a early Beacon Books novel by Orrie Hitt that not many of you have read, I'll bet. And it's probably not what you think it is, either.
The novel's opening scenes make it appear that we're about to get a backwoods tale. A bill collector shows up at the Banners' house in the sticks. Pa owes money to plenty of people and usually talks his way out of paying until forced. Ma is lazy. Daughter Della is a hot number, who doesn't owe anyone and owns her own car. When they finally shake the collector, Della packs up and leaves for the city. She's had it with the life she's leading, and at age 20 she wants more. More means money, and she's determined to get it.
Through a series of events Della hooks up with Jack, a door-to-door roofing salesman. He thinks Della has what it takes to be a good canvasser, the one who hooks the suckers before he comes in to close the sale. He's right. And not only that, but Della learns the business so well and so quickly that she's soon a closer herself, and then a manager. You won't be surprised to learn that the pursuit of money doesn't always end well, but that's all I have to say about the plot.
The book itself if surprising in several ways. For one thing, it's a good deal longer than the usual sleaze novel. For another thing, it's not a sleaze novel. Sure, there are a few sex scenes, but they're quite brief and non-specific. What this is, is a noir tale of a smart woman who knows how to get ahead in a man's world and will do what it takes to get what she wants. Or what she thinks she wants.
I haven't read a great many books by Orrie Hitt, but this is the best one of the bunch, by far. It's a serious novel about business, with plenty of details. It has a well worked out crime scheme. If you've never read Hitt's work before, this would be a good place to start.