Friday, May 14, 2021

Peter Keyes's sleaze / hardboiled novel The Love Odds

Okay, here's still another crime-cum-sleaze paperback from the sixties. I already finished my book on the subject, and I'll write about it more in the near future, but wanted to share this one. 

As I wrote earlier, I think sleaze writer Peter Keyes was really Andrew J. Collins, who'd started out in the crime pulps in the fourties. I read the three books as by Keyes that have been translated in Finnish. They are: By Sex Possessed (Brandon House 1966), The Love Odds (Brandon 1967) and Hardrock Romeo (Brandon 1967). By Sex Possessed was the weakest of the three, but Hardrock Romeo had some interest in it because of its sociopathic country & western singer lead. 

The Love Odds was the most interesting one of the trio, mainly because it seems like it was a write-up of an earlier pulp novellette or a novel. The hero is one Steve Wayne, who is almost like a private eye, clearing up the financial problems of firms and such. He's asked to find out who's taking a casino's money in Las Vegas. He meets two tough mobsters, Al Terry and Manny Zugg, who run the casino, and suspects them from the beginning. The mobsters buy Wayne a girl to make love with, but also to spy on him. Wayne also meets the owner of the casino, who's of course a good-looking dame, and has sex with her as well. The shattering climax takes place in the desert outside Vegas, where Wayne and his partner are told to dig their own graves, while the criminals have their way with the women of the story. The scene is actually quite gruesome and even disturbing.

There's some implausibility to the plot and of course it's all too short and not very memorable, but I thought I was entertained while reading this. If anyone's read Collins's pulp crime stories, I'd be interested to hear if he has one with Steve Wayne and the casino's money.