Friday, April 18, 2014

FFB: Flesh Avenger -- J. X. Williams (Harry Whittington)

Flesh Avenger  is one of the "missing 38" Harry Whittington novels, finally brought back from the depths of obscurity by David Laurence Wilson and Lynn Munroe.  You can read all about it here.  I haven't completed my collection of Whittington novels, but I'm working on it.  I still have four or five of these formerly missing novels to go.  All were published under various house names shared by a number of writers.  In this case, Whittington was J. X. Williams.

Like so many of the softcore porn novels of the late '50s and '60s, this one's a dark crime story.  Jim Devlin has just been released from prison, where he's served 8 years for something he didn't do, something that resulted in the death of his wife.  Now he's returned to the small town where it happened, determined to find out why three women lied on the witness stand and got him sent to prison. And why his wife died.

Devlin is relentless in pursuit of the answers, no matter how many people try to stop him and no matter what the consequences are for everyone concerned, including himself.  His life no longer means anything to him.  Only his revenge matters.  Naturally in a book like this, the revenge-taking involves sex.  Lots of sex.  But it's all integral to the plot.  Well, maybe not, but most of it is.  Sort of.

Speaking of the plot, it's not going to be a great strain on anyone to figure out pretty much what's going on as soon as the culprits are introduced, but the book is very readable, anyway.  Nobody ever depicted raw emotion better than Whittington, and this book is packed with it.  And when it came to moving a plot along, Whittington was also tops.  I probably won't read all or even most of the missing 38 books that I have, but now and then I can't resist picking up something by Whittington.  This time, Flesh Avenger was the one.

10 comments:

George said...

1Art Scott has the complete Robert McGinnis paperback collection and you'll have the complete Harry Whittington paperback collection.

Bill Crider said...

I don't think I'll ever achieve it. Lynn Munroe probably did, at one time.

BV Lawson said...

I'm hosting Friday's Forgotten Books today for Patti Abbott, but unfortunately Typepad (which hosts my blog) had a denial of service attack and is down. They are working to fix it ASAP, so please so stay tuned. My apologies - I'll put up the links when things are back to normal + they'll be up all weekend (and beyond). If necessary, Todd Mason has offered to stand in. I'll let you know one way or the other.

BVLawson said...

Okay, Bill, I think we (as in Typepad) are back in business. Here's the direct FFB link:

http://inreferencetomurder.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/04/fridays-forgotten-books-post-downtime-edition.html

If you see any errors or omissions, please let me know in the comments or via bv@bvlawson.com

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill:

I've read all of the ones that were identified as Harry's, as well as a good number that washed out. There are still very likely another two or three of Harry's novels that haven't been identified. Flesh Avenger, from my point of view, is one of the good ones, and I think that this one was written specifically for Cornith, and was not a rewritten novel, previously existing, or a manuscript where the sex quotient was upped to satisfy the publisher. It was also clearly a crime novel, whereas several of the others are not. A couple of them, most notably The Grim Peeper, are hard to fit into any category. I hope you read the Winter Girl novel, because I think that one is good enough to make the whole effort worthwhile.

David Laurence Wilson

Bill Crider said...

There was no question in my mind about this one, and I agree that it appears to have been written directly for Corinth. Now I'm curious about The Grim Peeper.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Whoa, quite a cover!

I just read A Ticket to Hell. liked it, and bought the edition of A Night for Screaming in the edition that has your introduction. I may be developing a Harry Whittington jones.
=================================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

Bill Crider said...

The guy could tell a story.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I just started A Night for Screaming on my break at work.

You have to see these rich, young, small-town dames to know what she was really like.

The guy could write.

Bill Crider said...

Durn tootin'.