Friday, July 17, 2015

FFB: John Flagg -- The Persian Cat

Time for a confession.  I've owned John Flagg's The Persian Cat and all his other Gold Medal Books for well over 40 years, and I've never read a one of them.  I have no excuse.  I just never got around to it.  When Stark House came out with a new edition in mass-market paperback size to help kick off its Black Gat imprint, however, I figured that the time had come to see what I'd been missing.  A very entertaining book, as it turns out.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm sure, the Gold Medal pattern was set early. The Persian Cat  was the first GM fiction title, and it's got everything you could want in a paperback original from the '50s: first-person narration by a cynical tough-guy protagonist (Gil Denby), great local color in an exotic location (in this case Teheran, as it was spelled in those days), a twisting plot, sex (two beautiful women who find Denby irresistible), conflicting loyalties, some violence, and a cast of colorful characters.  The ending is a bit of a letdown, but I'm not complaining.

Flagg (really John Gearon) has a smooth style, and the pacing is swift.  I'm giong to have to take a look at some of his other GM titles one of these days.


George Kelley said...

I've ordered all these new editions that STARK HOUSE is publishing. I have the Whittington and the Leigh Brackett waiting to be read. I have this John Flagg on order, too.

Todd Mason said...

I'll suggest that he GM cover set the mode for them, too...albeit hardly they alone.

Richard said...

Thanks for highlighting, Bill. Got it on order. I just read a Flagg short in an old Suspense digest. He's a fine writer. Here's a sample from that issue:

“The windows were up and the heater was on. An hour after noon, cold weather had descended suddenly on New England. The road to Bridgeville and the county jail was like a ribbon of toothpaste squeezed snake-like across the dull brown landscape.”

Jeff Meyerson said...

The only Flagg I've read was DEATH'S LOVELY MASK, a Gold Medal from 1958. Sadly I have no memory of it whatsoever.

It's hell getting old.

Jeff the Geezer

Ben Boulden said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one.