Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Big Clock
The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing was one of my first reads for 2011 and though I've been reading quite slowly lately, I read this in just a couple of days. The pages just flew by in this stylish crime noir written and set in the 1940s.
George Stroud is an editor for a true crime magazine, one of many under a New York media conglomerate. He starts a short affair with Pauline, the beautiful blond girlfriend of his boss, Earl Janoth. One day, before heading home to his wife, Stroud has a drink with Pauline and takes her antique shopping. After dropping her off at her apartment, he notices Janoth waiting for her in front of her building. The next day, Pauline is found murdered. Janoth knows that there is only one witness who can identify him at the scene of the night of the murder but since it was dark, he doesn't know who the man was. He assigns Stroud, one of his most trusted employees to find this man.
I thought this was a fantastic, unique and first rate thriller, definitely one of the best NYRB books I've read. It was a fun read especially with Fearing using chapters told in the first person by the main characters. I couldn't help but imagine Don Draper of Mad Men in the character of George Stroud. I know this has been made into a film with Ray Milland but it would be wonderful to see it remade soon and hopefully with Jon Hamm who I think just fits the part perfectly.