Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pick Up A Pulp [21]: A GIRL CALLED HONEY by Lawrence Block & Donald Westlake

Originally published in 1960 as an erotic novel under the authors respective pulp pseudonyms of the time (Sheldon Lord and Alan Marshall), A Girl Called Honey would be tame by today's more openly lurid standards (and I say that in a nice way).

The focus of the book is Honour Mercy Bane, daughter of churchgoing, god-fearing people who gets sent packing after being caught out for one too many indiscretions with the opposite sex - far from wanton, Honour's only black-mark in the eyes of her parents is having sex out of wedlock, immediately she's branded a whore and left to find her way in the world. 

She winds up in a small town, and ultimately gets a job in a cafe which happens to be a front for a brothel; her parents termed her a whole therefore she acts on it and earns a profitable living for while on her back. Before long she meets a young man named Joseph, AWOL from the Air Force who appeals to her nature, soon enough they're living together, he in the apartment all day in fear of being caught, her at the cafe earning a paycheck. The couple decide to relocate to New York after Joesph's paranoia has him believing the net in closing in on him. That's where things get interesting. 

In New York, Honour (going by the name Honey to Johns and acquaintances in the profession) sets to turning tricks on the streets before being snapped up by a high class call girl syndicate. It's here she meets James Crawford, a lawyer and family man who falls head over heals for her. There's a problem, Honey is in love with Joseph and James is used to getting what he wants - naturally things take a murderous turn and Honey/Honour's life is turned inside out. 

A Girl Called Honey is a surprisingly good read that stacks up well against some of today's pulp/noir novels. Sure there's not a lot of depth to these characters but they are well written and fit their environment perfectly. I loved how dark the story turned and will definitely be picking up Sin Hellcat, the next book by these two great writers.

My rating: 5/5, pick up this pulp. 

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