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. 


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