This week’s Pulp Friday offering is for all the hardcore noir fans out there, Gil Brewer’s The Brat.
Brewer really is the aspiring pulp writer’s pulp writer. The author of dozens of sleazy sex/crime/psychological thrillers, he began his career writing for Gold Medal Books in the early fifties, also wrote under the Ellery Queen by-line, as well as using the pseudonyms Eric Fitzgerald, Bailey Morgan and Elaine Evans.
He kept up a punishing work schedule, once writing a book in three days. Between books he churned out hundreds of short stories for mystery and pulp magazines.
He died in 1983, after years of alcoholism, mental health problems and financial stress. Like most of the most accomplished pulp novelists, he only gained critical attention well after his death.
There’s a great site about Brewer, done by his estate, which includes full listings of his work, bio details and some great photographs. It’s called Gil Brewer, Noir Fiction Writer.
The Brat was first published in 1957. The edition above is 1958 and appears to be an overseas in-print judging from the currency denomination on the top right of the cover.
The Brat features femme fatale Evis Helling. The narrator, Lee Sullivan, is in for one hell of a surprise when marries Evis. No sooner are they away from her home in the Florida swamps, than Evis starts pressuring him to rob a bank. You just know it’s going to end badly.
The back cover blurb is a beauty and classic Brewer.
She looked at the rotting, sun blasted shack, the one room where they all lived, slept, made love, died. Looked at the dusty lawn where no grass grew. At the steaming swamp, at her tobacco-spitting mother. Saw the sly, lustful eyes of her father’s friends. Then she looked at her own lush beauty.
Get me out of here, she prayed. Oh, please get me out of here!”