Friday, May 18, 2012

Forgotten Books: The Tough Die Hard aka The Echoing Shore -- Robert Martin

Robert Martin wrote some fine medium-boiled private-eye novels early in his career, and though the later ones weren't as good (at least to me), I read them all. I'd never read this book, however. It's a mystery, but not a p.i. novel. As you can see from the cover blurb, it has one of those women that you find in noir tales, the kind that no man can resist, even a nice guy like Nick, the narrator of this novel.

The woman's name is Ann, and she soon dumps Nick for a very rich man, the kind she's really interested in. She marries the rich guy. Later on, Nick goes to a lake cabin to fish. Who should be staying in another cabin not too far away but Ann and her husband? And who winds up dead the next morning? I don't think I'm spoiling anything by telling you it's hubby.

But Nick didn't kill him, even though he was killed by Nick's fishing knife. Nick's arrested and tossed in jail. The frame is tight, but the tough die hard. See how I worked that in? Clever, right? Anyway, it really has little to do with the book, but it's probably more likely to encourage an impulse buy than The Echoing Shore. It's well written, but not overly suspenseful. I think most of you will know very well who the killer is. Still, I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I got around to reading it after all these years.

There's a fine, touching essay on Martin and his work by Bill Pronzini here. Two other excellent essays, one by Jim Felton and one by Gary Warren Niebuhr, are here. Jeff Pierce of The Rap Sheet weighs in here. All four essays are highly recommended.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another good one, Bill. I'm so far behind on these authors I've not heard of...