Drawn to Evil

Whittington wrote, by most reports, 170 novels, and he could fill them with such intensity that they were all hard to put down. “Drawn to Evil” features Marty Carter, a hardnosed homicide detective in Tampa, Florida, who reminds one of either Mike Hammer with his vow to give no quarter and stomp out the bad guys or perhaps the Bud White character (played by Russell Crowe) out of Ellroy’s LA Confidential. Carter can solve any crime given enough time in the backroom with a suspect. He isn’t much for legal nitpicking and maintaining the sanctity of evidence. He just wants to get another killer in his hands “and choke the stinking life out of him.”

It also features a very obvious femme fatale character, Liza, who Carter falls for like a ton of bricks, when he begins investigating her husband’s murder. “There was something about her that went through me like the hot charge of high voltage,” Carter explains. He always suspects her, but doesn’t really care as her tears burn and sear “like molten steel bubbling out of a white hot vat.” He tells her he wants to find who killed her husband and “batter the living hell out of them.” He wants her and is going to do what it takes to get her. It was all there waiting for him, he explains, “the hellfire and the thrill and the excitement. It was going to be pure hell for the guy who really woke her up.”

Throw in a wealthy estate, a shady club, and some suspicious characters and you have a story brewing. It doesn’t matter that this tale is filled with pulp clichés or that, if you have read enough of the fifties pulp novels, you know what is coming at every step. Whittington writes like the devil is on his heels and it is just pure all-out fun to read this stuff.

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