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First published in 1956, Wild Wives is a short but very entertaining novel from Charles Willeford, the author of Miami Blues and a number of other crime novels.Jake Blake is a struggling San Francisco P.I. who lives in the same cheap hotel where he has his office. One slow afternoon, Florence Weintraub, the inevitable Hot Babe essential to the beginning of practically any classic P.I. story, waltzes into his office insisting that she's desperately in need of his help. Even though she's twenty-si...
Wild Wives begins with a beautiful, young femme fatale walking into a private detective's office. Sound familiar? Yep, it's a well-used, ordinary convention in hard-boiled detective fiction. But writer Charles Willeford is anything but ordinary. As he did in the last Willeford book I read, Pick-up, he turns the genre on it's head. In the first two pages of Wild Wives, we realize that the femme fatale is a 16-year-old girl, who shoots the detective with a water pistol, bends over his desk, and pr...
2020:From 1953Gritty and graphic, violent Pulp Novella. Great action suspense, especially as it goes on. I love all this, but there are such interesting character details, such strange entertaining sequences. This made it stand out. The scenes in Vegas, the wedding chapel, are funny and fun. And the almost appropriate encounters with the fifteen year old girl are unusual, not exactly genre cliche.Back in like 2010 I found a cache of his older books at a used booksale. Like someone had collected
This fast-paced novella is an unconventional private eye tale populated with seedy, greedy characters. Willeford, having written it under a pseudonym in 1956, rehashes the usual private-eye-falls-for-a-femme-fatale formula. But he throws in enough curveballs to keep the reader off-balance, starting with the first scene where a beautiful young lady struts into the private eye's office. Our lovers eventually make their way to no-holds-bar Las Vegas where the action grows even weirder. I'd say WILD...
Willeford takes what seemingly starts out to be a typical hard-boiled private eye story and turns it on it's head with with this fast paced and insanely plotted noir.
This was a slim but satisfying noir novelette that delivers exactly what you want from a slim but satisfying noir novelette. (MOST CONCISE. REVIEW. EVER.)
Cockfighter keeps popping up on one shelf or another of my recommendations here on Goodreads so when I found this classic hard-boiled novel in an op-shop for $1 I knew I HAD to try Charles Willeford for myself.And I wasn't disappointed. It's a tiny novella filled with seedy and conflicted characters and a simple yet convoluted plot. Perfect pulp material.Three seperate parts are vivid in my mind for different reasons; the first being the description and behaviour of Barbara Ann Allen is graphic
This early book by Charles Willeford has depth beyond it's deceptively simple plot. At first glance, it's just another detective story, but beneath the surface is an examination of post-war America, with a noir protagonist who has been changed by the war he fought in, and even may be suffering from PTSD beneath his always cool, sarcastic exterior. Not Willeford's best work, but definitely worth reading if you like noir with a little more depth.
Damn, so good. Got this for less than a buck from PlanetMonk Books. This is the kind of book that you won't find in Barnes & Noble anymore--100 pages with zero filler. Protagonist Jake Blake is a sexist, racist, homophobe sleazebag of a PI. But he's entertaining and the action in the book is nearly non-stop without ever feeling forced or repetitive.
Enjoyable, quick little read. Great cover!
This is a fast-paced archetypal noir. Reads more like a treatment for screenplay and I'm surprised this one was never made into a movie, because it has all the classic 1950s noir elements. The opening scene, though, with the girl with the water pistol and her schoolgirl skirt flipped up as she's bent over the private eye's desk asking him to spank her, well, that is surely unique to the noir canon!
Well, this certainly is a fast and fun read!Liked the twists that happened all the way to the end. My only complaint was the title.
This will be the 4th or 5th Willeford I've read...the last one High Priest Of California that a review or two or more say has been paired with this one. The synopsis has some similarities to that other from Willeford...although this one features a detective, whereas the other featured a used-car salesman...detective work only figured into the story in the way that Frank "Dolly"...I forget his last name...detected who the woman is that he met at the dance blub....(update:edit: it was Russell Haxb...
A hardboiled PI who's just a bit desperate for cash.My TakeThis was a bit Alfred Hitchcock with a flavor of 39 Steps about it. I kept waiting for one betrayal, but got several others.For a private investigator, Blake seems a bit clueless and pretty lazy. Letting those thugs get the jump on him. He simply takes Florence's story at face value. Jumps to conclusions. Fluffs off Bobby.It seems too that a guy like him would have reacted quite differently to Davis's come-on. That was just not believabl...
At 93 pages, this book is more like a novella than a novel, which makes sense, as it was originally issued in 1956 as the second half of a double novel, with Willeford's "High Priest Of California" in front of it. Like a B-movie at a double feature, the second half of a double novel doesn't really have to be that long. Willeford's "Wild Wives" is also similar to a B-movie in that it has an action-packed plot, with lots of lurid sex and violence. Finally, like a B-movie, it spends a great deal of...
Interesting novel, utterly bleak and delivered in pithy prose style by Willeford. The narrative is punctuated by moments of excess: casual scenes of dialogue explode into savage violence. A conversation between the protagonist/narrator, his client/lover and her husband is interrupted by her incessant screaming and a close-quarters bout of fisticuffs between the two men. It's hard to tell if this is a cruel fantasy or a deadpan satire of the hardboiled genre (Spillane et al). Given the qualities
Willeford's description of characters is unique and all his own which is just one reason I like to take a break with his books.This one is shorter than most books and I can't point to one person as the real 'bad guy' since every person has his (or her) flaws, deep flaws. One reviewer said 'deadpan' humor, and another said 'wry off-beat humor.' I agree with both. Charles Willeford gave writers who read him and who came after him, something use in their writing. I'm sure Willeford would have been
The purpose of Wild Wives seems to be a lesson in what would happen if a private eye like Sam Spade had to actually face the music for his smart ass behavior. He seems to pay for everything in this tale. Punching a thug, smarting off to a lieutenant, and playing a practical joke on a teenage girl all come back to bite him. It's a short book and maybe the first time I literally read a whole story in one sitting. It wasn't difficult. Willeford's prose moves smoothly and never lacks for action. It'...
I read both this and High Priest of California in the span of a few hours as my first introduction to Willeford's writings. I found out about him in the back section of the copy of "The Atrocity Exhibition" put out by REsearch publications as a throwback to times when you ordered things from the back of pulp magazines. Boy was I not disappointed. Misogyny, chauvinism, racism, greed, lust, alcoholism enough to make Bukowski blush (but I see where he must have drawn his ideas from now), Willeford
“No more playing around with Florence for me.” A dame, a death, a dash for dough and a dupe. Florence’s reckless driving was never going to end well. This has a last minute, nicely set up, ironic twist which, although it isn’t novel, raises “Wild Wives” up a notch from the mundane and demonstrates Willeford’s ability to make everything matter, even little girls firing water pistols. However, “Wives” is very much minor Willeford, he’d scale greater heights elsewhere. It’s perfectly readable, anti...
I'm not sure why this was called Wild Wives. There's only a single "wild wife" in the book. Also a somewhat wild teenager. Whatever, this is pure pulp, so don't expect things to make too much sense. Jacob Blake is a P.I. Florence Weintraub comes to see him to get help in escaping, for a time, from her "father", who is overly controlling. It's not easy, as there are a couple of body guards to avoid. Eventually, there is some success and they go off drinking and stuff together a time or two. Event...
A 1956 novelette about an unpleasant private eye and his nympho, crazy, female client. Interesting first person writing shows us what life was like in the 1950s i.e. lots of booze, poor diet, and the price of things compared to now e.g. $25.00 a day to hire a P.I. and $1 will do for taxi fare. Mr Willeford is a very good crime fiction (hard boiled) writer but this is an early (training wheels still on) work.
This is a lesser Willeford. It would have made a decent B-movie or miniseries back in the day. There is a distinct point where it feels like Willeford made the choice to cut the story early and not continue with it, and there are some glaring logical inconsistencies. All told, it's a fine short book to spend a half an hour reading. His longer work is better, probably not a story I'd come back to.
I can only add to what others have written here. It's a nice variation on classic noir elements with enough left turns to keep you surprised and one he'll of an ending. Willeford, like the relatively unheralded Bruno Fischer, turns the old private detective tradition, very subtly, on its ear. It's a quick, perfect read.
Charles Willeford filled this 1950's novel with a fast-moving plot and some very unusual characters. His humor is interjected throughout as well. A four-star novel except for the very abrupt ending. For me, some of his other novels were more enjoyable.
Hard bitten, Computer writtenI love these nasty old pulps. I have an idea some credit should go to the Firesign Theater for the office opening in Ch. 1... Software generated? What a revoltin' development!
A quick and dirty private detective book that’s full off sleaze. It’s not raunchy, mind you, there’s a difference. It’s not vulgar, but it’s seedy. It’s also a lot fun that holds up really well.
Wow. This is one of Willeford's early novels, barely 100 pages. I'd describe it as 'The Big Sleep meets Double Indemnity.' Rollicking pulp goodness from go to woe.
Campy, lurid pulp crime novel from the 50s with plenty of sex and violence. A quick read with a few good scenes (and a few objectionable ones). For Willeford's best work, see Miami Blues.