A crime noir gem from 1964 by Science Fiction Grand Master Robert Silverberg.
Love 'em... and leave 'em. That is small-time criminal Jimmy Henstall's first rule in life, as he travels all over the country, going from one woman to another, and robbing gas stations and stores for money.
After a painful break-up with Maureen, the woman he loved for years, he now makes women fall in love with him, and then leaves them heartbroken just the way he was.
Until he meets Helena, the passionate blonde, in a hotel bar, and the table gets turned...
My second recent read from newish kids on the block, 280 Steps after last month’s amazing The Red Right Hand. Pickup has an interesting introduction which provides some background on the author’s history in the genre of racey-titillating pulp paperbacks.
Pickup was a quick read, done in a few hours. Our main character, Jimmy we soon discover is not likeable or sympathetic; he’s a cold-blooded killer who is looking out for only one person. Whilst he’s despicable, he’s never less than interesting to read about. A small part of me has some sympathy for him as we discover his back story, but when the real Jimmy Henstall emerges from under his mask of normality that soon wanes.
Fifty years on from its original publication the sex scenes here are a wee bit tame by today’s standards. Still fun to read though.
The storyline followed a similar path to another book I read last month – John Lutz’s debut The Truth of the Matter. A little bit of deja-vous for me but enjoyable nonetheless.
Robert Silverberg is much better known for his science fiction/fantasy books. A website dedicated to his writing is here.
4 from 5
Thanks to Kjetil at 280 Steps for this one.