In A Lonely Place

In A Lonely Place

Book - 2017
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A classic California noir with a feminist twist, this prescient 1947 novel exposed misogyny in post-World War II American society, making it far ahead of its time.

Los Angeles in the late 1940s is a city of promise and prosperity, but not for former fighter pilot Dix Steele. To his mind nothing has come close to matching "that feeling of power and exhilaration and freedom that came with loneness in the sky." He prowls the foggy city night--­bus stops and stretches of darkened beaches and movie houses just emptying out--seeking solitary young women. His funds are running out and his frustrations are growing. Where is the good life he was promised? Why does he always get a raw deal? Then he hooks up with his old Air Corps buddy Brub, now working for the LAPD, who just happens to be on the trail of the strangler who's been terrorizing the women of the city for months...

Written with controlled elegance, Dorothy B. Hughes's tense novel is at once an early indictment of a truly toxic masculinity and a twisty page-turner with a surprisingly feminist resolution. A classic of golden age noir, In a Lonely Place also inspired Nicholas Ray's 1950 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart.
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, 2017
Copyright Date: ©1947.
ISBN: 9781681371474
Characteristics: 206 pages ;,20 cm.


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Nov 30, 2019

Film noir and hardboiled fiction are dominated by men, so Dorothy Hughes 1947 novel, which was filmed with Humphrey Bogart, offers a unique take on the genre. World War II vet Dix Steele returns to the States, adrift and alone. In Los Angeles, he hooks up with an old army buddy turned cop. Women are being killed and his friend is on the case. I won't describe any more of the plot, as its best to go into it without knowing much. Like much of the best hardboiled novels, it has a pitch black heart and a deep cynicism about human nature. Afterword by writer Megan Abbott.

Aug 25, 2019

If you like psychological thrillers whose narrator is unreliable then you are in for a treat. This book puts you squarely in the mind of a former fighter pilot Dix Steel, who is unstable and deeply misogynist. Set in LA in the late 40's, Dix hooks up with a former pilot buddy, Brub, who is now a police officer, hot on the heels of a serial killer. Dark and moody , this book stays with you long after turning the last page. Written in the 40's "In A Lonely Place" is ground-breaking with a feminist perspective. A Humphrey Bogart film was made with the same name but sanitized for Hollywood standards. At just over 200 pages, this book packs a punch.

Jan 14, 2019

This novel, narrated in the first person by a serial killer, ranks with Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me and Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley series as a harrowing Investigation of the psychopathic mind. The same avoidance of responsibility, the same paranoia and feelings of unstoppable personal power afflicts each killer. But Hughes’s novel contains a more acute social vision in that her killer’s rage stem directly from his hatred of and fear of women. And Hughes’s killer, Dix Steele, has more than met his match in Laurel Gray and Sylvia Nicolai, two sharp, tough women who quickly see through him. This novel’s timing is impeccable, there isn’t a wasted scene. The combination of vicious violence and helplessness in the killer Dix is convincing. The novel makes L.A. circa 1950 feel like a beach town. The descriptions of the beaches and the fog rolling in are beautiful depictions of nature. And wound as they are in the suspense in the novel, they give that nature a sinister feel.

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