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Branded Woman (Hard Case Crime) (Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Jul 2005

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Mass Market Paperback, 30 Jul 2005
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Crime Case; Reprint edition (30 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843953594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843953596
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 12.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,872,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

The writing team of Robert Wade and William Miller collaborated under a number of pseudonyms, including "Whit Masterson", "Dale Wilmer," and "Will Daemer." As "Wade Miller" they wrote many of their best books, including the Max Thursday series of private eye novels and the memorable Kitten With a Whip, which became a movie starring Ann-Margaret. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Dec. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I couldn't put down this action tale about international jewel smuggler Cay Morgan, an early 1950s femme fatale. The platinum blonde in pearls and tailored suit can handle guns, black-jacks, and is adept at judo as she cruises the Mexican underworld looking for vengence. Cay even carries a set of trim dark clothes for secretive nightwork, moving in the shadows and spying on the distinctive baddies.

Cay is not indestructable. Besides a past event that drives the story, she gets knocked out through various means repeatedly. Nor is she an ace investigator two steps ahead of the bad guys - she relies on private detectives, at points, to keep the story moving. But Cay can handle herself, and there is a trail of male corpses remaining behind her.

The novel is very much a product of the early 1950s. Cay Morgan is an alpha female - ruthless, efficient and seemingly without a heart. Yet there is a shift in register midway through, as the plot relies on her aching to be "owned" by a man she can fawningly love. However, in this a final twist is coming at the end.

This is delightful escapist entertainment, a well paced thriller, that at several moments can be compared with the great Modesty Blaise (a fictional character who wouldn't be invented for another decade).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A terrific unearthing of an underappreciated author 18 July 2005
By Craig Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Author Wade Miller is likely best known (if he is known at all) as the writer of the novel that Orson Welles used as the source of his late-career masterpiece, Touch of Evil. However, this is only likely once you know that "Wade Miller" was a pseudonym used by Robert Wade and William Miller, who also used other pen names throughout their writing career.

One of those was "Whit Masterson," who is the "personality" credited with that source novel, originally called Badge of Evil. Of course, Welles took considerable license with the characters, switching the identities of a few, as well as locations, and beefing up the role of Hank Quinlan (which he played himself).

Confused yet? I was. (Other similar sounding pseudonyms the pair used were "Will Daemer" and "Dale Wilmer" -- it seems the duo had a wry sense of humor.) What is important now, though, is that the two wrote Branded Woman, a new release from Hard Case Crime.

Cay Morgan was a jewel smuggler, the rare woman in what is considered a man's profession. She was entirely content to smuggle and let smuggle, but The Trader had other ideas; Cay needed to be taught a lesson and, although she had thought there was nothing worse than death, she soon found out otherwise. Half a decade later, she is in Mazatlán, on the trail of a man named Valdes, her only link to The Trader and her only opportunity for revenge.

Branded Woman features one of the more fascinating characters in crime literature in Cay Morgan. She is smart and sexy, seductive and skilled. If she lets her emotions rule her sometimes to her detriment ... well, that just shows that she has remained human, unlike the usual femmes fatales who only seem out for a buck -- or a stabbed or broken heart. Despite all she has been through, she is still open to experiencing hope, and she can still love. That she doesn't have much luck in that arena is simply par for the course. (They wouldn't call the publisher Hard Case Crime if they were interested in printing books about people finding happiness.)

Branded Woman contains a complex chain of events leading up to an astonishing conclusion. Wade and Miller are expert plotters and their situations feel realistic while being entirely out of the ordinary. Having Cay seem like a real woman only ups the ante and makes this novel more impressive.

What I like best about the Hard Case Crime books is how they make me want to seek out authors I've never heard of before (Two for the Money made me an instant Max Allan Collins fan). So, now that I know there are more names to look for, Wade Miller (or Whit Masterson, or whatever the duo call themselves on any given book) is/are getting added to that list.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
No cardboard cutouts - real characters and real plot twists 17 Aug. 2006
By D. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tough, jaded, and smart, Cay Morgan is like any other jewel smugger except for one thing: she's a female. And a remarkably attractive female at that. In fact, her only physical flaw is a brand on her forehead, which left a permanent scar in the shape of the letter T. A brand inflicted as a permanent warning by "The Trader," a criminal kingpin standing at the top of the smuggling pyramid.

Five years later, Morgan is determined to exact vengeance for the painful imprint. She is in Mazatlan, shadowing a man called Valdes, a known associate of the Trader. A private detective has accompanied her, ostensibly to watch her back and perform some legwork while she hunts for her nemesis. Things go bad, though, when Valdes turns up dead, cutting off her last link to the Trader. And then things go from bad to worse when she stumbles across the body of her private detective.

Stunning plot twists and an utterly unpredictable conclusion are hallmarks of Branded Woman. Further, Morgan is fleshed out as a full-fledged person, not a cardboard cutout the way that many female protagonists are portrayed. All in all, while it's not the finest in the Hard Case Series ("Touch of Death" and "Bust" are two I consider superior), it's certainly high quality work that's helping to resurrect the Pulp genre.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Revenge Story; Cay Morgan is a Wonderful Character 5 April 2014
By Dave Wilde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There never was a Wade Miller. The name is a pseudonym used by an amalgamation of two writers, Robert Wade and H Bill Miller. Together they wrote more than thirty novels under the names Whit Masterson and wade Miller. This amalgam of two writers is not to be confused with the Wade Miller who played for the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.

In 1952, the writing duo published Branded Woman. It is a remarkable work and fairly engrossing. The one thing that does stand out about it is the main character is a woman, Morgan Cay. The basic plot is found on the back cover which explains that the beautiful Cay Morgan can hold her own in the world of international jewel smuggling. She was warned to stay away from the Trader's business. When she doesn't heed the warning, the Trader abducts her and scars her for life with a "T" emblazoned on her forehead so that she will never forget him. Five years later, Morgan finally has a lead on where the Trader is and is out for her revenge. She saw a photograph in a newspaper of a man associated with the Trader and she heads to Mazatlan where one of the biggest jewelry deals in history is going down.

"Just past thirty, she grew vainer every year about her ability to make men perspire." "Despite the sultry poise of her figure, men noticed her hair first. It was technically blonde, but silver rather than gold, a hue once called platinum but which Cay herself fondly termed pearl blonde." It is further explained that: "She did not look like a woman planning murder; no one seeing her now would suppose that she could hate so long and hard."

The story is jampacked with action from the very moment Cay touches down in Mazatlan to the very end of the book. There are murders, knifings, drownings, catfights between two ferocious women, chases down deserted alleys, guns, romance, and more. All the action takes place in and around Mazatlan and this adds a nice atmosphere to the work. Cay is just about the most dangerous woman you could imagine, but the question is has she met her match in the Trader. After spending five long years seeking him out, what is she really going to do when she finds him and will it be worth it?

I recommend this book. It was a lot of fun to read.

If this were made into a movie today, I could see either Scarlet Johansen or Uma Thurman playing the role of Cay.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hard Case Crime Unearths A Worthy Classic! 25 Aug. 2005
By ASalm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The writing team that makes up Wade Miller have all but faded from the minds of most modern mytery readers. This sad state of affairs is changed thanks to Hard Case Crime who have re-issued one of the Miller duo's best works in an attractive new edition featuring a new cover done in the old, hardboiled style of yesteryear.

Branded Woman is as off-beat a hardboiled tale as you're going to find. The lead characeter, Cay, is one woman you want on your side. She is tough, smart and deadly. The novel itself twists and turns and you're never quite sure how Cay's revenge against the villain (who branded her on the forehead)will turn out. The writing is tense and moves well. The characters and dialogue are sharp and defined.

If you love hardboiled mystery, you'll be hardpressed to find it done any better than in Branded Woman. And the rest of the Hard Case Crime line for that matter. Just one year in business and they've snagged 2 Edgar nominations and 1 win!! Plus a couple of Shamus Award nominations as well. Branded Woman is a lost classic thankfully found. Here's hoping it finds the new audience it deserves.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Kill the Trader 12 Mar. 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the pulp crime novel genre there are many sub divisions. One of them is the woman's revenge story. Branded Woman is one of the best you'll ever read.

Five years ago Cay Morgan ran afoul of a mysterious figure called the Trader. On his orders her life was ruined and now she's finally tracked the one person who knows what the Trader actually looks like to a Mexican tourist town. Her plan is simple. She's come to kill the Trader.

On Cay's side is a decent man, her own charm, and toughness and a shiny new gun. On the Trader's side are a multitude of hired killers paid for by his fortune and his particully cruel methods. Who's going to win?

Into this struggle comes a regular guy whose life is as far removed from Cay's violent world as you can get. Will she give up her quest for revenge or will she lose the love of her life?

The story is brilliantly put together. You have no idea what will happen next and when Cay finally meets the Trader it's a huge moment. Branded Woman would've made a great movie starring Barbara Stanwyck. It's fun, it's suspenseful and the ending was a huge surprise.
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