|A Crest reprint|
Same goes for The Red Scarf (1958). It was published in hardcover by Mystery House, a cheap lending-library publisher that paid $300 for the book, after it was rejected by Brewer's usual publisher, Fawcett Gold Medal, and other paperback publishers. Still it's an outstanding book, one of Brewer's best, which is saying a lot. This is one of those books where your typical lower middle-class working person gets into a trouble, can't find his (or her) way out of it and just digs his hole deeper and deeper. In The Red Scarf the protagonist is a nice young man who runs a motel with his wife. They have no money and it seems there won't be the new highway that was promised when they bought the motel. Then a femme fatale comes in, with loads of money. It's just that the money belongs to the mob. (You'll find a longer description of the book at Mystery*File, by Bill Pronzini and Lynn Munroe.)
The Red Scarf is very well paced and tightly written little monster of a book. Before I read it, I was struggling with another book from the same era and thinking they must be all like this, but I was delighted to find Brewer's book just blew me away. I couldn't stop reading. The most important thing about this kind of a book is that it remains believable through the end - and the ending is not the most happy one.
By the way, Gil Brewer doesn't have a Wikipedia article! Quick, someone!