a while ago, I glommed onto a list of "Hard-Boiled" recommendations that looked interesting. it looked that way, because the list itself was compiled a long time ago--mid or late 1950s--and so seemed to contain many books and authors who were a lot more popular then than now. a critic advising on Hard-Boiled choices, doing it in the 1950s, wouldn't yet know which authors were sooner or later going to start to fade into obscurity and get overshadowed; he would suggest books that were selling well then--not knowing at least half of them wouldn't stay in print, unlike the immortal Chandler, Hammett, a couple of Cains, Goodis, Woolrich, and even my fave-rave Fredric Brown, who shimmers in and out of print, mostly out lately (shame...).
No, this became an opportunity to learn faded, "once they were, well, princes if not kings" names like Bart Spicer. all that said, this is much much better than my first try, Nightmare In Manhattan by Thomas Walsh. but then, that was billed as a melodrama, and the list-maker wasn't as enthusiastic about that one as the other Thomas Walsh effort I acquired, The Night Watch. I've saved that one, and have high hopes that when the label says hard-boiled, not melodrama, Thomas Walsh may yet sneak up and dazzle me from limbo. meanwhile, The Golden Door tempted me between the two Walsh options--and yes, this is a fast, terrific little hard-boiled gem. reminds me of Cut Me In, by Ed McBain, which returned to print recently, unlike this Spicer gem (I sure do have some old, thin little paperback to deal with...but it's holdin' together). things are lookin' up, from out in hard-boiled limbo!