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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hard Case Review #4: The Vengeful Virgin

Simple and direct. Gil Brewer delivers a passionate, early erotic tale of an appliance store owner who uses his skills to help an eighteen year-old ward murder her benefactor to reap a hefty inheritance.
You can't help but feel bad for Jack, the palooka with a talent for wiring what passed as home-entertainment systems in the 50's. From the minute he answers the call and lays eyes on Shirley Angela, the red-head vixen, you know there is going to be trouble. Is she dumb or is she playing him? Even at the end after all she's done with Jack to get the money, I still wonder if she had it all worked out in her head. I might have believed that if not for Brewer's dark ending.
One thing I've always enjoyed about reading and even writing if leaving the audience with a lingering image or two. Brewer delivers on this too when Jack lies in a hospital bed with his ex-girl glaring at him for his stupidity. Excellent moment.
Where the book weakens is in Jack. you have to really want to care about a bozo like Jack who instantly gets a hard-on for an eighteen year old girl and quickly begins to develop a plan on how to seduce her and then take the sick old man she cares for all his money. You're hoping he gets caught and maybe that's why you'll continue to read: To see if he gets away with it or if he gets his comeuppance.
Three and a quarter bullets out of five.

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