By Charles Williams
Whilst the S.S. Leonard hauled Harry Goddard out of the freezing waters of the Pacific, he concept his problems have been over--but he used to be lifeless improper. For what a cruise send enroute to the Philippines grew to become out to be the board on which a deadly video game used to be being played--a online game of overseas intrigue, double deception, and a number of homicide, the place the stakes have been intercourse and tool and the cost of one unsuitable stream used to be definite death.
Charles Williams (1909-1975) used to be one of many preeminent authors of yank crime fiction. Born in Texas, he dropped out of college in 10th grade to enlist within the US service provider Marine, serving ten years sooner than leaving to paintings within the electronics undefined. on the finish of global conflict II, Williams started writing fiction in San Francisco, the place the good fortune of the “backwoods noir” Hill woman (1951) allowed him to give up his task and write complete time for the remainder of his life.
Williams’ fresh and a bit informal narrative type distinguishes his novels, which variety from hard-boiled noir to suspense thrillers, set within the sea and the Deep South. even though released via pulp homes, his paintings received nice severe acclaim, with Hell Hath No Fury (1953) changing into the 1st paperback unique to be reviewed by way of mythical big apple instances critic Anthony Boucher. lots of his novels have been tailored to the reveal, together with lifeless Calm (1963) and Don’t simply Stand There! (1966), for which Williams wrote the screenplay. He died in 1975.
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She moved her head in a peculiar gesture of the neck, deliberately forcing her injury on me. She paused when she reached the doorway, waiting for me to step out of her way. I looked down at the scar tissue on her face, a seam left by an invisible zip three inches long, running from the corner of her right eye to the apex of her mouth. With the naso-labial fold this new line formed an image like the palm-lines of a sensitive and elusive hand. Reading an imaginary biography into this history of the skin, I visualized her as a glamorous but overworked medical student, breaking out of a long adolescence when she qualified as a doctor into a series of uncertain sexual affairs, happily climaxed by a deep emotional and genital union with her engineer husband, each ransacking the other's body like Crusoe stripping his ship.
His hand had struck some rigid object as he was hurled from his seat, and the pattern of a sign formed itself as I sat there, pumped up by his dying circulation into a huge blood-blister - the triton signature of my radiator emblem. Supported by her diagonal seat belt, his wife sat behind her steering wheel, staring at me in a curiously formal way, as if unsure what had brought us together. Her handsome face, topped by a broad, intelligent forehead, had the blank and unresponsive look of a madonna in an early Renaissance icon, unwilling to accept the miracle, or nightmare, sprung from her loins.
This bogus commiseration over the dead man irritated me, merely an excuse for an exercise in moral gymnastics. The brusqueness of the young nurses was part of the same pantomime of regret. I had thought for hours about the dead man, visualizing the effects of his death on his wife and family. I had thought of his last moments alive, frantic milliseconds of pain and violence in which he had been catapulted from a pleasant domestic interlude into a concertina of metallized death. These feelings existed within my relationship with the dead man, within the reality of the wounds on my chest and legs, and within the unforgettable collision between my own body and the interior of my car.