I had to do a little work to get myself a copy of Dan J. Marlowe's THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH (from the archives). I just want to list what made it such a perfect book to me.
1) the complexity of the protagonist
2) the writing-lucid, tense, succinct
3) the way Marlow integrates a necessary back story into the plot. Now a lot of writers today would say, we don't need to know all of this about him. I disagree. Without this info, he's just a psycho. Now he's a psycho, yes, but with grounding.
4) the length of the book. Truly you couldn't take much more of this degree of excitement.
5) the atmosphere, which is just exactly right for the plot, character, etc.
6) the integration of the violent aspects with the prosaic ones
7) the motivation for what happens. Because of the back story, we get it.
8) the ending.
I could go on and on. What did you like about this book if you've read it? If not, what book would you nominate for a perfect little gem? And I guess what "little" means is under 250 pages.