Friday, December 03, 2010

Forgotten Books: DOUBLE BANG -- Heywood Gould

Maybe everybody remembers Heywood Gould's novels, but I don't ever hear anybody talking about them. I don't know why, since this one's both very good and exactly the kind of thing that people seem to be looking for these days. By that I mean that it's hard and fast and filled with people so screwed up that nobody has much of a chance of coming out of things in good shape, not even the good guys. Except that there aren't any good guys, really. They're almost as bad as the bad guys.

There's a big cast: Corrupt cops, a hit man, a mafia drug dealer who loves his own product, a psychiatrist who falls for her sociopath patient, and many others. Gould takes the time to give many of them a backstory, but in doing so he doesn't slow down the action. I've never seen the movie made from the book (directed by Gould), but maybe the flashbacks would be a problem there. Here, they're not.

As for the plot, it's another one of those that I can't really describe. There's nothing in it that you'll find unfamiliar, but Gould's way of telling his story is funny, trenchant, goofy all at once. Check it out. As for me, I'm going to read another of his books soon.

6 comments:

Todd Mason said...

This name rings the faintest of bells...but I'm not sure I've ever read his work. I'll have to see if I've seen some a/v work by him...was he "amphibian" to the degree that Wlliam Goldman and latterly George R.R. Martin have been? (Or Ellison or Bloch or Beaumont or the Mathesons...)

Bill Crider said...

Not quite on Goldman's level, for sure, but he did the screenplay for BOYS FROM BRAZIL, among others. Wrote FORT APACHE, THE BRONX. Don't know about the screenplay, though.

Evan Lewis said...

Rings not the slightest bell, but sounds like it ought to.

Juri said...

Great - I have this book and haven't really known if I should read it or not, but seems I like have to! :)

Bill Crider said...

It's not an absolute must, but I enjoyed it, as you can tell.

Vince said...

Never saw the movie myself. I did enjoy Leading Lady, Gould's most recent novel.