Bingo square – People
This noir classic was created when Paul Cain patched together five stories that he had written for the detective magazine Black Mask. Published in 1933, it soon became famous as the book that was just too hardboiled to be fashioned into a movie. And seriously, it is, even by today’s standards. Daaaaamn son.
Paul Cain was by then a slippery character in Hollywood. That was not his real name, nobody was quite sure where he was from (spoiler, Iowa, actually), and that was the way he liked it. Sometimes he was a Russian poet, sometimes he was a Dada painter. And, fun fact, it was he who came up with Myrna Loy’s stage name. So good on him for that. This book is full of bootlegging, cocaine, gangsters, gambling boats, skeevy doctors, and shady politicians. So you know, 1930s Los Angeles. (Some things have changed. Ain’t gonna say which.)
Gerry Kells is a gambler from back East who stumbles onto a windfall in LA. But a couple of rival crooked politicians are after him, his girlfriend has more than one serious substance abuse issue, the police are trying to fall in with whoever seems to currently have the winning hand, and his friends in town are fairly thin on the ground. He knows he’s got to take the Santa Fe midnight special out of town, but he just wants to make sure he-s not leaving anything behind that is rightfully his. Should have listened to the dame.