I was looking forward to reading my first book by James Hadley Chase (pen name of René Raymond), who's described in the blurb as "the thriller maestro of the generation" (which generation? the lost generation?) and "the king of all thriller writers". What a joke! This guy's writing is banal, trite and predictable. His protagonist, an anti-hero of ever there was one, imagines he can rob the mob, then waltz up to a storage locker under surveillance by the bad guys to claim the cash. Chase "explains" things rather than let them happen naturally. Why say you're funny? It's much, much better to actually be funny. His dialog is even worse. His characters are American wise guys of Italian descent (how stereotypical!) and red necks but he has them calling the TV the "telly" and saying they want to "hire" a car instead of rent a car. Didn't he know better how real Americans talk and what our slang is like? Sure he was British but a little trivial research would have enabled him to write more realistic dialog. You can almost hear the gears turning as he struggles to make his speakers sound "authentic". Sadly I bought another of his books from Amazon as well, the "Fast Buck", and I rather doubt I have the patience to read it. How did this guy sell books? He has 21 titles listed in the front of this House of Stratus edition and is said to have authored 90 books under various pen names. People must have been totally desperate for something to read, anything to read in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.