Monday, January 21, 2008

Sin Pit -- Paul S. Meskil

Barney Black is a cop in East St. Louis, obviously at one time a very shady place. We get a nice tour of the underbelly in this one, and in the course of investigating a murder, Barney meets one of those women who exist just for guys like him. He knows when he sees her that she's big trouble, and their encounter confirms it. And the reader knows that Barney has about as much chance of resisting her as a starving man has of resisting a good meal.

Barney thinks of himself as an honest cop, and he is. Sure, he doesn't mind roughing up a prisoner or even shooting one, but down deep he's okay. That is, until he meets Grace. After that, he's done for.

Both hardboiled and noir (by my definitions, which, as we know, are the only ones that count on this blog), Sin Pit doesn't get under your skin the way a Jim Thompson book does, but has plenty of its own appeal. The sex is probably what sold this one originally, not so much what happens as the whole sado-masochistic bent of it.
This is another of those 126-page Lion books that gets the job done.

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