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The Fallen Sparrow Audio CD – Audiobook, CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (1 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1483033112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1483033112
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.1 x 15.9 cm

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Product Description

Book Description

'An author with a flair for terror' The New Yorker --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dorothy B. Hughes was an acclaimed crime novelist and literary critic, her style falling into the hard-boiled and noir genres of mystery writing. Born in Kansas City, she studied journalism at the University of Missouri, and her initial literary output consisted of collections of poetry. Hughes' first mystery novel, The So Blue Marble, was published in 1940 and was hailed as the arrival of a great new talent in the field. Her writing proved to be both critically and commercially successful, and three of her novels - The Fallen Sparrow, Ride the Pink Horse and In a Lonely Place - were made into major films. Hughes' taught, suspenseful detective novels are reminiscent of the work of Elisabeth Sanxay Holding and fellow The Murder Room author Margaret Millar. In 1951, Hughes was awarded an Edgar award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism and, in 1978, she received the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America. She died in Oregon in 1993. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Rediscover Dorothy B. Hughes With This Tense Wartime Thriller! 5 Oct. 2008
By Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci - Published on
Format: Paperback
Combining striking imagery, sensory details, and memorable characterization, Dorothy B. Hughes builds a good head of paranoia and suspense in her 1942 thriller THE FALLEN SPARROW. Hughes does a masterful job of bringing us readers into the mindset of troubled yet determined hero John "Kit" McKittrick. Kit's boyhood friend Lt. Louie Lepetino had helped him escape from the Spanish prison where he'd been held captive and tortured for two agonizing years after the Spanish Civil War. When Kit returns to New York City from a rest cure at a ranch, he's stunned to discover that Louie's dead, having plummeted 12 stories from an apartment house window at a swanky party honoring wartime refugees Dr. Christian Skaas and his suave nephew Otto. Hell-bent on proving that Louie's death was neither accidental nor a suicide, Kit arms himself and starts sleuthing. His grim goal: killing Louie's killer.

Kit has his work cut out for him. His suspects include just about everyone in his upscale circle of friends, but especially the women, since he's sure only a woman could have gotten close enough to Louie to shove him out a window. The suspects include Kit's alluring old flame Barby Taviton; the lovely, sad-eyed refugee Toni Donne; and songbird Content Hamilton, the young cousin of Kit's friend Ab Hamilton. (TANGENT ALERT...My eyes kept tripping over the name "Content" as I read. For all I know, it might have been a popular name for girls back in the early 1940s. To my 21st-century eyes, reading "Content" as somebody's name just looked odd, yanking me out of the story several times before I finally resigned myself to it...END TANGENT ALERT). But Kit's biggest obstacle is that he's suffering from what we modern folk now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He's still haunted by the memory of the mysterious man from Franco's elite Nazi squad, a man with a limp who tortured Kit in his dark cell, trying to get him to reveal where he'd hidden the fabulous Babylon goblets he'd wrested away from the enemy as an act of defiance. Even now, Kit struggles with fear in spite of himself as he imagines hearing the drag and thump that signified the arrival of the sadistic "Wobblefoot" -- but is he really imagining it, or have his enemies followed him home to New York, maybe even planting their spies into every aspect of Kit's life?

Hughes sure knew how to grip a reader with suspense while evoking the feeling and atmosphere of wintertime World War 2 Manhattan, even if some of her turns of phrase looked a little odd to this modern reader (such as a reference to Content's "wrathy eyes"). Her portrait of upscale café society characters and their milieu is presented with both glamour and bitterness as seen through Kit's eyes. Kit's viewpoint is especially intriguing because, it's indicated, he's had trouble fitting in for some time, having been raised in a working class environment only to be shoehorned into the glamorous life when his policeman dad came into money, which only turned into more money when his mother became a widow and married into the upper crust. It's easy to sympathize with Kit in spite of his misogynistic streak; after all, he was put through hell in Spain only to return to more terror and danger at home, and he spends lots of time and energy stubbornly trying to convince himself he's not afraid, only to be proven wrong, to his frustration. Although Dorothy B. Hughes's mysteries were wildly popular during her heyday, even being adapted into hit movies, her books seemed to be all but forgotten after she retired to concentrate on her family. has both new and used paperback editions of THE FALLEN SPARROW available (the one I read had a cover which had an uncanny resemblance to the FRENCH CONNECTION movie poster), so seek out this spellbinding thriller and rediscover Hughes now!

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