Friday, December 31, 2021


From the archives: Bill Crider's review. Bill and Judy.

Forgotten Books: FLIGHT TO DARKNESS -- Gil Brewer

Gil Brewer's not really forgotten.  In fact, he's having something of a revival now, what with the recent reprints by Stark House Press and the proposed four-volume collection of his stories to be published by Dancing Tuatara Press in cooperation with Ramble House.  And now New Pulp Press is re-issuing Flight to Darkness, originally published by Gold Medal in 1952.

This is one of those stories that Brewer and Gold Medal did so well, with the first-person narrator pushed from one seemingly impossible situation to the next.  Eric Garth is hospitalized after the Korean War for "battle fatigue."  He keeps having a dream that he's beaten his brother to death, and he's afraid that if he's released from the hospital, he'll make the dream come true.

Then he meets a nurse named Leda.  Wow.  Leda is one of those Gold Medal women who exudes sex appeal.  She is sex appeal.  Eric has to have her.  He knows she's trouble, but she's impossible to resist.  Eric wins his release, and the next thing he knows, he's framed for a hit-and-run accident.  Then he's locked away in another hospital.  Leda and his brother show up to visit him, and now they're man and wife.

Eric escapes and returns to his hometown.  His brother's a wealthy man, and he has no intention of giving Eric his half of the family business.  Leda gets Eric in bed again.  Then Frank is brutally murdered in just the manner of the dream.

Leda is as bad as they come, and Eric is just as driven as she is.  When it comes to depicting people like this, all rough edges and raw emotion, Brewer comes close to his friend Harry Whittington.  Both can grab a reader on the first page and wring him out for a couple of hundred more.  If you like the old paperbacks with their fast action and blue-collar desperation, grab this new edition and give Brewer a try. 



Margot Kinberg said...

Nice choice to share, Patti! Thanks for reminding me of Bill Crider and his work, too. Happy New Year, and may 2022 be kind to you.

Todd Mason said...

Indeed...happy New Year (Common Era!) to us all...and good to keep the memory of Bill with us even just after Angela checked in the other day.

Thanks for everything.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We talk about Bill (and Judy) all the time. They are sorely missed.

George said...

Bill Crider loved Gold Medal paperbacks and the writers who wrote them. The highlight of the BOUCHERCONs I attended was hanging out with Bill Crider and Judy Crider. I miss all that fun!

Jerry House said...

Brewer and Bill, what a combo! Gil Brewer has always been a great read and Bill's enthusiasm for good stories, friends, and real Dr. Pepper remains with us. Thanks for digging into the archives for this.

2022 will be a good year for all of us; I feel it in my creaky, brittle bones! Happy New Year, Patti!

Rick Robinson said...

I still haven’t read any Brewer, but have many fond memories of Bill Crider from Bouchercons.

Angela Crider Neary said...

Thanks for the memory - and the photo!