The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain

Tags:  crime-fiction noir
The Cocktail Waitress was the last book James M. Cain wrote before he died in 1977. Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai pieced it together from a number of manuscripts and published it in 2002. The book, as Ardai says, “is a classic Cain femme fatale story that’s told for once from the femme fatale’s point of view.” And what a point of view it is. The book opens with twenty-one year old widow Joan Medford standing at her husband’s grave.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Tags:  crime-fiction noir
This seems like the prototype of American crime/noir novels. At just about 100 pages, it’s quite short. Cain doesn’t waste any time in getting to the story, or any words in telling it. In fact, many of the chapters read like a screenplay, with lots of dialog and little or no narrative. The dialog isn’t even tagged, meaning there’s no “he said” or “she replied.” Sometimes you have to back up half a page and re-read, just to keep track of who said what.
1 of 1