Friday, November 27, 2015

FFB: The Violent Ones -- Brant House, editor

Back in the Old Days, we didn't have Syrian refugees to fear, but we had plenty of other things.  We had the commies, the bomb, and of course juvenile delinquents.  

I believe that Brant House is *ahem* a house name used at Ace Books.  That's what Wikipedia says, so it must be true.  For this book, whoever was using the name assembled a book of stories about the fearful plague of delinquents on the nation, and as you can see from the back cover (and the title), he didn't pick out any stories about youngsters who help old ladies across the street.  Or if he did, those aren't the ones I read.

Evan Hunter's "See Him Die" is a told by a cop-hating youth who thinks a killer is a heroic guy.  Don't think this is going to be a story with a moral, one in which the narrator sees the error of his ways.  These stories aren't about people who do that.  (UPDATE:  This story was rewritten as See Them Die, the 13th novel in the 87th Precinct series.)

The narrator of Robert Silverberg's "Russian Roulette" talks her boyfriend into playing the game.  And she wants to go first.  These are tough kids, and she's even tougher than you might think.

In "The Bobby Soxer" Jonathan Craig gives us another girl as the protagonist.  It's what happens after a man drags her into an alley and tries to rape her that gives the story its kicker.

Gil Brewer might have the nastiest story in the book (I haven't read all of them yet) in "On a Sunday Afternoon."  A man, his wife, and his child go on a picnic after church.  What could possibly to wrong?  J.D.s, that's what.  Very bad things happen.

Robert Turner's "Movie Night" closes things out with another story of a simple pleasure -- a night at a drive-in movie -- that gets way out of hand.  

[SPOILER ALERT] There's not a single story that I read in which any of the perpetrators of violence are punished.  I'm not sure what this tells us. [END OF SPOILER ALERT]


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I wasn't surprised by your Brewer comment. I read his collection REDHEADS DIE QUICKLY a while ago and was amazed at where he went in some of the stories.

Jerry House said...

Yep. Cousin Brant is a figment of someone's imagination.

Todd Mason said...

I suspect Brant House, like MANHUNT magazine editorial fiction "John McCloud," was better known as Scott Meredith Literary Agency Staffers. Certainly, most of the stories seem to be from MANHUNT and such imitators as TRAPPED and GUILTY...which leads to the {Spoiler] question being answered with, the trendy nihilism of 1950s hardboiled in the digests wasn't hemmed in by tv censors nor sponsor pressure...any more than the stories in AHMM were...though they didn't tend to reach for the trans-black as readily as the MANHUNT school of magazines did...

Mathew Paust said...

Lordy, I remember seeing zip guns in use in comic books back in the day--waaay back in the day--in which instead of the letters B A N G at the end of the barrel to describe the ballistic acoustics, the letters truly were Z I P. Embarrasses me to this day to admit I thought, for quite a while there, zip guns in fact did go Z I P.

Bill Crider said...

If they didn't, they should have.