Sunday, July 27, 2008

McPartland - The Face of Evil

The Face of Evil. John McPartland. Fawcett 1954, Linford 1991. McPartland was a hard-boiled thriller writer of the fifties. He is and was known for realistic portrayals of fighting. He reads like a guy who was in a few street fights in his time, and has put that knowledge into his books.

In Face of Evil, the main character is John Oxford, a fixer. Unlike some freelance fixers portrayed in movies who do what they want and demand large sums of money, Oxford gets the money but is still in debt, and he works for one company, that basically owns him. On a job to wreck a politician's career, Oxford meets two femme fatales, one a girl he wronged in the past. Oxford begins to have second doubts about his line of work. Soon he is in deep trouble with almost everyone, and almost without friends or allies.

The action and tension are constant, the fights very good, and most of the characters are nicely drawn. McPartland has some trouble with his portrayals of women, but the Ann character is good. And one or two minor co-incidences are too convenient, but most of the plot twists are believable enough. A very good book in the 'hard boiled tough guy' mold.

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