Lowestoft Chronicle Editor Reviews The Red Scarf and A Killer is Loose

“While hitchhiking home, a desperate man with a briefcase full of cash is pursued by the police and the mob, and a hapless ex-cop becomes captive to a deranged, psychotic killer, in two dark, raw, outstanding noir classics.

Hugely popular and prolific during the 1950s, selling millions of copies of paperback originals, the late Gil Brewer is considered one of the best American crime writers of his era. Between 1950 and the late 1970s, he authored hundreds of short stories and dozens of novels, including The Red Scarf and A Killer is Loose, two early career novels commonly cited as among the author’s finest.

As veteran LAPD detective-writer Paul Bishop says of these novels in his introduction to this combined edition, Brewer’s ‘specialty of trapping his protagonist in a web of terror, paranoia, and dread and empathetically transmitting those feelings to his readers had been honed to the sharpness of a killer’s stiletto.’

Originally published in the Mercury Mystery Book-Magazine in 1955, and later in book form as a Crest reprint by Fawcett, The Red Scarf sold more than a million copies and received numerous favourable reviews in leading periodicals.

Anthony Boucher of The New York Times, who was never a fan of Brewer, singled it out as the author’s best work, calling it a ‘pointed and restrained’ full-packed, effective tale, and New York Times bestselling author Bill Pronzini proclaims ‘the characterization is flawless, and the prose is Brewer’s sharpest and most controlled.’”

Nicholas Litchfield’s review of Gil Brewer’s classic noir tales The Red Scarf and A Killer is Loose is featured today in the Lancashire Post and syndicated to 20 newspapers in the UK. You can read the review here.

Author: Editor

Founded in September 2009, Lowestoft Chronicle is a quarterly online literary magazine publishing travel-related fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.