What happens when the Hunter becomes the hunted? Join us today for Richard Connell's classic short story "The Most Dangerous Game!"
Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" and published in 1924 in The Saturday Evening Post and was adapted into a film of the same name in 1932, starring Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, and Leslie Banks. He began his writing career when he was 13 years old when he covered a local murder trial for his father’s newspaper in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1906. By the age of 15, he was a seasoned crime and sports reporter. His father became a Congressman and Richard then attended Harvard and went on to serve a year in France during World War One where he edited a camp newspaper called “Gas Attack.” When he came back to America, he got married and moved to Hollywood where he worked on many projects, his most notable being “Meet John Doe” in 1941.
John Bell is our narrator and he is also the writer, producer, and actor on the award-winning "Bell's in the Batfry" podcast, which can be found at http://thebatfry.libsyn.com/
We are always looking forward to discovering our next writer, so if you are interested in contributing, please send us your short story of fewer than 5,000 words to email@example.com
Looking for your next book? Check out this review of the 1st book in the C. Mack Lewis's Fallen Angels Series, Gunning for Angels:
Private eye Jack Fox has a problem. He just can’t seem to keep his business end inside his pants, and winds up flopping into the sack with just about every female he meets.
But his overactive libido isn’t Jack’s real challenge. The thing that is turning his life inside out is the fact that Enid, the daughter that resulted from one of those one-night stands sixteen years earlier, has run away from her alcoholic mother and taken the Greyhound to Phoenix looking for the father she only recently learned she had.
For his part, Jack didn't even know Enid existed.
This is the situation at the beginning of “Gunning for Angels,” a fast-moving detective yarn by Lewis, a New Jersey native transplanted to Scottsdale, Arizona, who deftly juggles plot twists, humor and mayhem in this enjoyable debut novel.
The story involves unwanted children and a few that are wanted far too much for comfort.
Lewis's character, Jack Fox, is a solo operator working out of a hole-in-the-wall office staffed only by his secretary receptionist.
A Lothario from the get-go, Fox is described by Lewis as "not handsome enough for Hollywood but too handsome for his own good." Practically the only women in the story he doesn't get between his sheets are his daughter and the receptionist.
This lust-struck peeper is between clients when Enid, the result of his blast in the past, walks into his office, coat-tailing on a woman who wants to hire him to identify her birth mom.
Eventually the two enter into an uneasy alliance. Jack, who was rejected by his own birth father, a cop and bigamist, can’t seem to work past his guilt at having a teenage daughter he’s never met. Enid, who is used to cleaning up her drunken mother’s messes, is distraught by her abandonment.
Despite their mutual distrust and fear, they join forces and struggle to come to grips with what seems to be a simple parental abandonment case but turns out to involve trafficking in child prostitutes, pedophilia and fraud.
Oh, yes: and murder; lots of murder.
The basic plot of Lewis’s book is pretty grim stuff, but she manages to serve it up with dashes of wit that leaven the violent and gruesome nature of the story. Just when you are beginning to think that Fox is a competent investigator and all-around cool guy, he hits a banana peel and does a pratfall – usually with his newly-acquired daughter looking on.
Case in point: in one scene Jack is boffing a client while Enid who has managed to sneak into the bedroom before him, hides in the closet, trying to keep from blowing her lunch. Good times!
And unlike the female partners in many detective yarns, Enid doesn’t exist just to be menaced by the villains. She is manhandled, abused and subjected to violence in the novel, but manages to escape on her own. In fact, she does at least as much to solve the mystery and obtain justice as her gumshoe dad does.
The characters in the book are all colorful and neatly rendered, particularly Jack and Enid. Unfortunately, as is the case with many novels these days, this one could have benefitted by a final editing pass to eliminate some of its tendency toward repetition. For example, at the beginning of the book, a death scene is described in which a “baby’s fist spasmodically beat[s] against the dead woman’s face, splattering rips and reams of blood in every direction of the tiny kitchen.”
Nearly three quarters of the way through the book, Jack finds the corpse described in the initial passage and picks up the infant, whose “tiny fists beat against him, splattering rips and reams of blood across his face as she wailed at full volume.”
I like the phrasing, but that’s a few too many rips and reams of blood being splattered for my comfort.
These are minor points, however. Offsetting them is the fact that Lewis has laced her novel with really fine writing that shows her eye for the telling detail and a facility for original language. It would have been easy to sketch the plot in a series of clichés, using tired metaphors hundreds of other authors have used before. Instead, Lewis opted for originality and flare.
For instance, only a couple of sentences into her novel she gives us:
“Eyes full of empty stared upward as she lay sprawled out like some grotesque pin-up girl. An all-American beauty served up on cheap linoleum, a Jackson Pollock canvas of bullet holes and blood spatter.”
“Eyes full of empty;” “A Jackson Pollock canvas of bullet holes and blood splatter;” Now that’s writing. An author capable of turning two phrases like that in a single paragraph knows what she’s doing. What’s more, Lewis does it over and over again in spinning out her story.
She’s on top of things from the very beginning. I’m looking forward to her next novel already.
Read a sample of Gunning for Angels now (also available on Audible):