Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pick Up A Pulp [18]: THE PASSIONATE PAGAN by Carter Brown

When Danny Boyd turns down a gun for hire job, he sees opportunity in being said targets body guard; shield the intended vic rather than puncture him with bullets. Should be an easy score, after all, he knows where the contract is coming from and the timeline for the execution. What Boyd didn't bank on was arriving at the targets hotel only to find him laying in a pool of blood and a couple of bruisers all too ready to share their penchant for violence.

The Passionate Pagan once again pits the PI with the 'profile' against a dame with a body to kill for - along with a motive to murder. Only this time, it's a rare occasion of Boyd taking on a case without a client - yet throwing his every inch of skill coupled with dumb luck to catch the killer - and it's not who you think.   

One of the things I like about the Carter brown pulp mysteries is their tendency to stray from the formulaic. Sure each book is loaded with cheap and cheesy pulp prose and questionable plotting but they are each different and it's that variety which keeps me coming back for more. 

In The Passionate Pagan, Boyd is not only hired for a hit (which he obviously declines) but is involved in a kidnapping of sorts (along with Laka Tong, the dame who wanted him to murder an associate), outright murder, and is responsible for taking down a drug smuggling ring. A lot happens yet the pieces to the puzzle don't quite fit as nicely as I would've hoped. There's a fair amount of convenience and easy-outs in the book which, with a little tweaking here and there could've been resolved, unfortunately it's those elements which really hamper the reading experience. 

2/5 stars.  

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