One For Hell
Jada M. Davis
Stark House, Oct 15 2010, $19.95
Riding the boxcars in Texas, Willa Ree takes a quick glimpse around as the train he rides enters Breton. Willa leaps off just before the train stops at the station as he is hungry and broke and believes there are plenty of fat oily suckers here for him to skim.
Town leader Ben Halliday seeks a new cop who has no trouble with turning the other cheek as money is stolen. Willa and Ben meet and size each other up before agreeing this is a marriage made in hell. Ben arranges for Willa to be his dirty cop. However, Willa proves to be an out of control psycho in Ben’s mind; as the new cop fails to conceal neither his contemptible thieving ways nor his womanizing. Each knows a showdown for who owns Breton is coming soon though the affluent locals will probably hire a fast gun while Willa relies on himself.
This is a reprint of a 1950s Noir that now reads like a powerful historical crime caper. Readers will anticipate the face-off, but not expect the fabulous twist. Well written and filled with plenty of action though character driven, One For Hell provides a deep look at Korean Era Texas with a strong cast as the audience will wonder who will be the last one breathing when the dust (and blood) clots.