Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, April 27, 2018

 
THE PLASTIC NIGHTMARE, Richard Neely (Ed Gorman from the archives)



I've written before about Richard Neely. He wrote non-series crime novels that pretty much covered the entire range of dark suspense. I mentioned that in the best of them the weapon of choice is not poison, bullets or garrote. He always preferred sexual betrayal.

Plastic is a good example. Using amnesia as the central device Dan Mariotte must reconstruct his life. Learning that the beautiful woman at his bedside all these months in the hospital--his wife--may have tried to kill him in a car accident is only the first of many surprises shared by Mariotte and the reader alike.

What gives the novel grit is Neely's take on the privileged class. He frequently wrote about very successful men (he was a very successful adverts man himself) and their women. The time was the Seventies. Private clubs, private planes, private lives. But for all the sparkle of their lives there was in Neely's people a despair that could only be assuaged (briefly) by sex. Preferably illicit sex. Betrayal sex. Men betrayed women and women betrayed men. It was Jackie Collins only for real.

Plastic is a snapshot of a certain period, the Seventies when the Fortune 500 dudes wore sideburns and faux hippie clothes and flashed the peace sign almost as often as they flashed their American Express Gold cards. Johnny Carson hipsters. The counter culture co-opted by the pigs.

The end is a stunner, which is why I can say little about the plot. Neely knew what he was doing and I'm glad
to see his book back in print. Watching Nerely work is always a pleasure.

Yvette Banek, THE ISLAND OF SHEEP, John Buchan
Brian Busby, THE LANE THAT HAD NO TURNING, Gilbert Parker
Cross Examining Crime, DEATH WATCH, John Dickson Carr
Martin Edwards, DEATH IN FIVE BOXES, John Dickson Carr
Richard Horton,  Siege of the Unseen, by A. E. Van Vogt/The World Swappers, by John Brunner
Jerry House, FUTURES TOWARD INFINITY, Sam Moskowitz
George Kelley, Collected Millar
Margot Kinberg, THE RULES OF BACKYARD CRICKET, Jock Serong
Rob Kitchin, DARK TOWN, Thomas Mullen
B.V. Lawson, THE ARCHER FILES, Ross Macdonald
Evan Lewis, AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, John K, Butler
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, FALSE CONCEPTION, Stephen Greenleaf
Todd Mason, SILO, edited by Lynne Coleman and Stephanie Spinner
J.F. Norris, THE EVIL WISH, Jean Potts
Steve Nester (THE RAP SHEET) Homebody, Seth Morgan
Matt Paust, THE CASE OF THE POISONED ECLAIRS, E. V. Cunningham
James Reasoner, THE YELLOW SCOURGE, Curtis Steele
Richard Robinson, "What I Read, Part One"
Gerard Saylor, SKIN, Mo Hayder
Kevin Tipple, DEVIL HEAT, DEVIL COLD AND OTHER TALES OF THE WEST, Charlie Steele
TomCat,  Nocturne of Remembrance, Shichiri Nakayama
TracyK, THE SILENT SPEAKER, Rex Stout

6 comments:

Jerry House said...

I just posted mine, Patti. FUTURES TO INFINITY, edited by Sam Moskowitz.

Yvette said...

My post is finally up, Patti. Sorry I'm draggin' these days. :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

me, too. I think I have a tooth infection!

Todd Mason said...

Yikes. I'm finally getting my broken crown situation looked at on Monday...

Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks for reminding me of Neely, Patti. I must read his stuff. And thanks for including me in this week's list!

Todd Mason said...

Steve Lewis in the last week moved to look at the film version of THE PLASTC NIGHTMARE at MysteryFile...such a media crush of mine at the time, Greta Scacchi.