The Girl with the Long Green Heart Review
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Not long ago, pulp fiction was, to most people, just the name of a Quentin Tarantino movie. But thanks to Hard Case Crime, a new generation of readers is being introduced to the old pulp classics—as well as new pulp fiction (like The Colorado Kid by Stephen King). The latest Hard Case Crime novel, The Girl with the Long Green Heart, is a re-released noir classic from 1965.

The story is narrated by con man John Hayden. After doing time in San Quentin for a con gone wrong, he’s determined to give up his life of crime. He’s got a job as the night guy at a bowling alley in Boulder, and he's got dreams of buying a run-down motel and turning it into a successful business. But then Doug Rance shows up at his door. Doug has thought up the perfect, fail-proof con, and he wants John in on the deal. Knowing that the con really is fail-proof—and that it’ll make him enough money to buy his motel—John reluctantly agrees.

While on a trip to Las Vegas, Doug met a beautiful young woman named Evelyn Stone. For years, Evvie had been both the secretary and lover of Wallace Gunderman, a real estate millionaire in a small town in New York. Gunderman had promised to marry Evvie once his sick wife died—but as soon as she did, Gunderman changed his mind. And now Evvie’s out for revenge. She’s more than willing to work with Doug and John in a long, elaborate real estate scheme, if it means finally making Gunderman pay.

In the beginning, everything goes according to plan. John and Doug have every last detail worked out. The con can’t possibly go wrong. Gunderman’s money is as good as theirs. But then, on his first visit to Gunderman, John breaks one of the big rules of the grift: never fall in love on the job.

Crime novel fans won’t want to miss this pulp classic. Block’s writing is crisp and fast-paced, and the characters are timeless—the irresistibly beautiful girl, the tough con man with a fatal weakness... It’s impossible to read this book without hearing John’s gruff voice in your head while picturing him in a trench coat, walking down a dark street in the rain.

Right from the start, I had a pretty strong feeling that I knew what was bound to happen—but the suspenseful build-up is what makes this book such an exciting read. Block is obviously a pulp fiction master. He knows just what it takes to keep readers frantically turning pages.

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