It’s wonderful that many books that would have disappeared into the ether never to be read again are being reissued as ebooks. Lawrence Block is resurrecting many of his early books, some written pseudonymously and now released under his true name. Pulp fiction and cheap paperbacks were often the best way for writers to break into the business and to support themselves early in their careers.
Deadly Honeymoon is just such an early Block and the first book of his to be optioned for movie rights. It follows David and Jill, newly weds (she’s still a virgin at 24 true to the morays of the fifties) and they are unfortunate enough to witness the mob hit on a man hiding from gangsters in the cabin next to them while on their honeymoon. They are seen and David is beaten while Jill is being raped. They mention none of this to the police who come to investigate the killing, but immediately plot their revenge and much of the book follows their search for the killers about which they know very little. Their investigation presages the detective work of Block’s later protagonists like Scudder.
My only complaint, and this is related more to the novella’s anachronistic content, was the prosaic and utterly predictable ending.