He Won’t Need It Now

Author – James Hadley Chase
Genre – Thriller
Publication Date – 1939
Number of Pages – 176
Geographical Setting – United States

A quick job that should have taken Duffy a couple of minutes to complete and earn him $1,000.00 per photo – with a $500.00 retainer’s fee spins out of control.  Thus placing Duffy on a murder scene. Duffy is an out of job newspaper correspondent who is just trying to figure out what’s next.

Fast forward – Duffy finds himself involved in a complicated drug smuggling and under world activities.  He meets Annabel, daughter of a very rich and influential politician. She is young, attractive but hangs out with the wrong crowd and has no qualms about embarrassing her father.

Duffy’s long time friends are afraid for him and warn him he is heading in the wrong direction. Now, he has to make a decision between making a lot of quick cash or continuing on his current daily grind…

My Take

I loved the complex plot as well as the twists and turns. But I had issues with some of the plot thread which I found a little unrealistic and hardly believable – where the protagonist, a regular Joe with no previous criminal history finds himself on a murder scene  while doing a crappy job. He decides to get rid of the body and cover up the murder with no idea how the murder occurred or who may have been involved. Apart from scenes like that, I also found lot of spelling errors, which in this case can be totally blamed on the editor. However, the language is casual, with a lot of funny anectodes and slangs which I found really interesting.   If you don’t mind some   grammatical errors, and a couple implausible  incidents, then go check it out. Indeed, He Won’t Need It Now is a fast-moving and engaging thriller that has the reader turning the pages quickly to see what happens next.

Snippet  on author

His real name is René Lodge Brabazon Raymond  but wrote under a couple pseudonyms including James Hadley Chase. Born in London, grew up in Europe and never visited the United States before.  He was a very popular thriller writer in the ’30s-’50s.  He wrote mainly about theft, fraud, murder and gangster life.   His books gained a lot of attention word wide except in the United States.    The descriptions of his settings were mainly acquired through research, maps and a dictionary of American Slangs.  For one who never visited the United States, his  ability to craft these stories  with such detail is very commendable.

Nevertheless, it is said that the American audience never took to his books because his descriptions didn’t seem convincing enough. On top of that, the women audience were turned off because of the misogynistic portrayal of his female characters. Going from how successful his books were though, about 50 of his novels has been made into films. 

The Light Between Oceans: a novel

Author – M.L. Stedman
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publication Date – July, 2012
Number of Pages – 352 pages
Geographical Setting – South Australia

Tom Sherborne an ex soldier signs up as a light keeper at Janus Rock. An Island right in the middle of the ocean where contact with the outside world is made only once in a season and vacation is about every other year. Tom brings his young wife Isabel to this light where unfortunately life has not been very fair to them with Isabel having had two miscarriages and a still birth. As Isabel’s dealing with her latest loss, from no where, a boat sails up the shore with a baby and a dead man. Isabel firmly believes – this is God’s way of compensating them for all of their sufferings. God has answered their prayers by sending them a baby. Against his own better judgement, Tom agrees with Isabel for them to keep the baby. This decision is later to bring a lot of heartache, pain and agony to all of those involved.

My Take –
At the light, the rules of employment as well as the common wealth law stipulates that any incident on the light has to be logged and reported. Therefore, the decision to keep the baby was not an easy task for Tom who before now has been diligent with carrying out his duties out to the letter. The reader follows as Tom wrestles with his conscience which urges him to do the right thing and give the baby back. But seeing Isabel so despondent and vulnerable especially after two miscarriages and a still birth is really hard for Tom to bear. The story goes on to explore more issues as: How long can Tom and Isabel keep up with this secret and the ensuing lies? Is there a mother out there broken-hearted over a lost baby and a dead husband? What is to be done about the great bond that has formed between Isabel and the baby? This becomes a very painful situation where any action taken would be very hurtful and devastating for someone or everyone.

The Light Between Oceans is an interesting début novel with an intriguing plot line. However, I found the beginning methodically paced at first. Personally, I have little patience for very descriptive novels with lyrical tone, but I understand some readers might very much appreciate that style of writing. Typical with historic novels, this author launches into very detailed descriptions of the landscape by so doing, the reader gets a good feel of the setting and time period. At the same the author delves into the feelings, and emotional state of the characters. This helps the reader appreciate the inner thoughts of the characters and are able to empathize and connect with them.

The Light Between Oceans is an engrossing, touching and believable story that would appeal to fans of historical novels. There are talks about movie rights for this novel – so we’ll see…

Please feel free to share thoughts…