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5.0 out of 5 stars great noir
Dorothy Hughes was a new acquaintance for me and I don't remember having seen the movie either. Being a Hammett/Chandler/MacDonald fan Hughes was immediately a big hit for me. The intrigue is great and the description of the personalities very stylish. It IS a little improbable, but so are many other similar books. Although there are no actual surprises, the suspense...
Published 21 months ago by Jippu

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American hard-boiled crime
Told in the first person by Dix Steele a sociopathic, misogynistic killer. This is pure American hard-boiled story writing. If you have read and enjoyed either 'The Killer Inside Me' or the Ripley novels by Patricia Highsmith, then this will be right up your street.

This may have had resonance amongst a traumatised post war American G.I. generation. Indeed, the...
Published on 21 Oct 2010 by Officer Dibble


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5.0 out of 5 stars great noir, 21 Mar 2013
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Dorothy Hughes was a new acquaintance for me and I don't remember having seen the movie either. Being a Hammett/Chandler/MacDonald fan Hughes was immediately a big hit for me. The intrigue is great and the description of the personalities very stylish. It IS a little improbable, but so are many other similar books. Although there are no actual surprises, the suspense carries the book forward. Pity that Hughes stopped writing before she really could have written great books!
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4.0 out of 5 stars literary hardboiled noir, 6 May 2012
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Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Dorothy B Hughes writes literary hardboiled noir taking on and matching Chandler, Hammett, Cain and Thompson at their game. In a Lonely Place is atmospheric, taut, tense and dark. Although written in the third person, the story is told exclusively from the point of view of Dix Steele, a misogynist with a murderous psychosis, and Hughes does well at capturing his corrupted rationalities. This is not however at the expense of the other characters, who are still well realised and rounded. The pacing is nicely done, with the gradual unfolding of Steele's back story and the investigation of the murders, yet there is no flab, the story being tightly told. There's also no violence, with Hughes able to create drama and tension without directly portraying any of the crimes or their aftermath. For my tastes, the story is a little too melodramatic in places and I whilst I enjoyed it and recognised all its merits, I was never fully captivated and swept along by the story. Nevertheless, a very solid piece of hardboiled noir.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American hard-boiled crime, 21 Oct 2010
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Officer Dibble (Zummerzet) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Told in the first person by Dix Steele a sociopathic, misogynistic killer. This is pure American hard-boiled story writing. If you have read and enjoyed either 'The Killer Inside Me' or the Ripley novels by Patricia Highsmith, then this will be right up your street.

This may have had resonance amongst a traumatised post war American G.I. generation. Indeed, the question is never posed but would we today suggest that Dix's mental state was exacerbated by PTSD? After all his first victim, the adored 'Brucie', was killed in wartime not before.

Told in a short, factual reportage style. The tension is ratcheted by Dix's desire to take risks. The main risk being to ingratiate himself with an Army buddy who is now a police detective with the LAPD and who happens to be investigating the series of murders of young women.

Interesting to read a woman author's insight into a man's mind who regards all women as 'liars and whores'. This is not gore-fest but instead a compelling insight into a man trapped in a very lonely place indeed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated, 28 Aug 2013
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This review is from: In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This novel revolves the antics of Dix Steele a serial killer who out of hubris rekindles a friendship with one of the Detectives who is investigating his murders. Whilst the novel was made into a movie of the same name, the movie bares very little resemblance to the novel.

Dorothy B. Hughes is one of the hardboiled authors of the classic period. Whilst this novel may not have the wit of Chandler or the plotting of Hammett, it does however fall into the category of a psychological thriller, the pace maybe somewhat slow for some readers, and the character of a serial killer may not be as believable as say in Jim Thompson's Killer inside me. However, it is intelligently written in an intuitive and introspective sense even though the climax is flagged well in advance.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, 5 Oct 2010
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This review is from: In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read this book then watched the film (with Humphrey Bogart). I enjoyed both, but the book was better - it was much darker. Noirish - which I like - and satisfying. It is written in the first person perspective so has that unique perspective of the main protanganist. A good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Feb 2014
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Fascinating study of the mind of a murderer, told with brilliant use of suspense. Made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart directed by Nicholas Ray - the story has little relationship to the novel. Both are excellent in their own way.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling read, 26 Mar 2013
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col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Synopsis/blurb.........
Dix Steele is back in town, and 'town' is post-war LA. His best friend Brub is on the force of the LAPD, and as the two meet in country clubs and beach bars, they discuss the latest case: a strangler is preying on young women in the dark. Dix listens with interest as Brub describes their top suspect, as yet unnamed. Dix loves the dark and women in equal measure, so he knows enough to watch his step, though when he meets the luscious Laurel Gray, something begins to crack. The American Dream is showing its seamy underside.

This book originally published in 1947 was the March read, as voted for by the fellow pulp fiction group members on Goodreads. I will hold my hands up and admit it hadn't attracted my vote. (The Hot Spot - Charles Williams was my selection.) I can't be doing with women authors! I'm only joking; honest.........I admit I don't read enough by them. So it was an opportunity to, if not redress the balance at least make a tentative step in that direction.
It was enjoyable enough insofar as I was kept wondering throughout whether Steele would get away home free. We know from a very early stage that there is something screwy about him, and a lot of the narrative allows us to see things from his perspective. He masks his emotions easily and only briefly does he allow his guard to slip and allow his friend's wife to suspect he is more than he seems. Brub, his policeman friend seems taken in initially......dinner with good ol' Dix, drinks with good ol' Dix, reminiscing about their shared exploits in England during the war.
Steele, funding his pretend lifestyle as a novelist, on someone else's dime, eventually allows his sickness and paranoia to overtake his caution. Having fallen for wannabe actress Laurel Gray, his eventual downfall is brought about in part by the sharp perceptiveness of Brub's wife Sylvia Nicholai.
This was an interesting and enjoyable book, with an insightful portrayal of a serial killer by Hughes. Whilst most of the violence happens off-page, and may be considered tame by today's standards it still retains the capacity to chill.
As an aside, there was a noir film noir adaptation from the book, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame released in 1950. Brought out on DVD approximately 10 years ago.
4 from 5
My copy of the book was borrowed from my local library in Leighton Buzzard.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 17 Nov 2013
This review is from: In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Taut, tense thriller that has as many layers as the swirling mist with which the story opens. Beautifully written, this is a noir that's darker and more complex than the Bogart film version. A must read for all lovers of the genre.
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In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics)
In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics) by Dorothy B. Hughes (Paperback - 6 May 2010)
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