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Ride the Pink Horse [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Dorothy B. Hughes

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Book Description

May 1980

Sailor, a hood from Chicago, steps off a bus in a small, desert town. He is looking for someone, his boss, 'Sen' - a crooked, 'weasel-faced' Senator, who has set up the murder of his wealthy wife and made it look like a bungled robbery. Sailor is the only person who can finger Sen for the crime, and he intends to make the senator pay a hefty sum for his silence.

In a hypnotic style that is pure, unsentimental noir, Hughes builds tension relentlessly and the fates of Sailor and Sen are played out against the increasing fervour of the town's festivities.

Originally published in the 1940s, Ride the Pink Horse takes classic American noir to a new level. Reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain, Dorothy Hughes weaves timeless themes around a deceptively simple plot.

Several of Hughes' novels have been successfully adapted for the screen, including Ride the Pink Horse and In A Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: John Curley & Associates; Large type edition edition (May 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893402370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893402372
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,354,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Nobody but Dorothy Hughes can cast suspense into such an uncanny spell, and she's never done it better. (San Francisco Chronicle) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dorothy B Hughes was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1904. She lived and worked for the majority of her life in New Mexico, writing fourteen crime and mystery novels, of which three were successfully adapted for the screen: The Fallen Sparrow, starring John Garfield, Ride the Pink Horse, directed by Robert Montgomery and In a Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart. She died in 1993. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The story of Sailor and Sen 18 Mar 2005
By Kevin Killian - Published on Amazon.com
It's good, though not as good as THE FALLEN SPARROW or THE SO BLUE MARBLE, Hughes' two masterpieces.

It is sometimes supposed that she took the "back story" of RIDE THE PINK HORSE from Willard Motley's famous novel KNOCK ON ANY DOOR, for both books feature a pair of slum boys, one of whom grows up to be a hood, the other a top cop. However if anything the shoe is on the other foot as PINK HORSE was published earlier than KNOCK--though it is true that KNOCK was written first.

A memorable film was made of this novel, with Robert Montgomery in his noir outfit, and the lovely, mysterious Wanda Hendrix dyeing her hair to try to look Latina. She doesn't look Mexican but she looks utterly fantastic. And Thomas Gomez, surprise, a real Mexican to play a Mexican, an utterly unique casting call for Hollywood back in the day. Gomez was even nominated for the Oscar.

For some reason the film isn't available on DVD, indeed was it ever even on video? However we have the book in this splendid Canongate edition. Like Patrick Quentin's PUZZLE FOR PILGRIMS, it shows us Latin America through the slatted blinds of noir bleakness. Hughes wrote one more splendid novel, IN A LONELY PLACE, and then several other lesser books.

There was even a re-make of PIONK HORSE in the early 1960s, one of the very first TV movies, by Don Siegel who had also made THE KILLERS for TV. This telefilm too has not been released on video. THE HANGED MAN (with Robert Culp and Vera Miles) took the events of RIDE THE PINK HORSE and transported them to New Orleans, and threw in the Mardi Gras parade for good measure, even filming a bit of Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto making winderful music together. How about a two sided DVD release of RIDE THE PINK HORSE and THE HANGED MAN?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great 40s hardboiled novel 12 Dec 2003
By LGwriter - Published on Amazon.com
Anyone who thinks only men write hardboiled fiction--and great hardboiled fiction, at that--is in for a shock with this novel. Dorothy Hughes, the author, has to be classed as one of the best of the breed, based on this novel alone--although two of her other works, The Fallen Sparrow and In a Lonely Place, were also made into film noirs.
The real pleasure here is the crackling dialogue that lashes back and forth between Sailor (basis for Barry Gifford's character's name in Wild at Heart?), a down at the heels drifter, and the Sen--short for Senator Willis Douglass, a corrupt sleaze who had his wife killed so he could be with his floozy of a mistress.
Both meet up in Mexico where Sailor has tracked the Sen to get the rest of the dough Douglass promised him for keeping his mouth shut about what happened. But also there is Mac, a Chicago cop hot on the trail of one or maybe both of the two men.
If you want a strong, gripping read that creates a tense world dripping with 40s atmosphere, look no further. Noir fiends, like me, should rejoice that Canongate Crime has reissued this title in a very nice trade paperback. Just the ticket for the holidays!
4.0 out of 5 stars well written downer 6 April 2014
By Ray Wrisley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hughes writes with a sure hand. If you have ever experienced a non air conditioned hot summer, you will be able to smell the sweat and soft asphalt while reading this page turner. Much like 'THE LOST WEEKEND", also written in the mid forties, it's unrelenting in it's depressing outlook. The only false note is the ending.
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have made a better short story 7 July 2013
By Bill Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Even if you are a fan of noir crime fiction as I am, and despite some intriguing supporting symbolism in the novel - the fiesta, the merry-go-round, Sailor's hanging about with people very much like those he came from - you might want to avoid this vintage 1946 piece.

I was reminded that back when Dorothy Hughes wrote this for the pulps or a pulp publisher you were paid by the word, and it is sadly obvious here.

This would have made a far better long story or novella than a novel -
it feels as if there is enough padding here to make a skinny person into Old Saint Nick himself - sadly, it is not as interesting as our friend Santa.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Noir 26 May 2013
By Jeffrey T. Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Dorothy B. Hughes by a short story she wrote and this was the first novel I have read by her. I absolutely loved it. I am really into noir fiction, especially Patricia Highsmith, and I like really dark characters and plots.

This reminded me a lot of Highsmith's better novels. Dorothy B. Hughes definitely had a beautiful writing style. So many lines in this novel are quotable.

I will definitely be checking out more of her noir fiction. I tried "The Blackbirder", which was more of a World War 2 spy story, and I really wasn't into that at all. I was surprised by how lame it was compared to "Ride the Pink Horse".
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