Review: The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain
The Cocktail Waitress is a fantastic, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride courted by all the elements of a classic crime noir. With his final novel Cain proved that his prowess for writing a brilliantly suspenseful crime novel was still thriving. The protagonist, Joan, narrates the book (recording it, as she says, in order to clear her name of initially unspecified crimes). Her voice effortlessly carries the sordid story, her character so strong and vivid that the reader can almost imagine her sitting opposite, telling her tale. She’s beautiful, smart, determined – and possibly deadly. Such is the trick of Joan’s trade; whether she is, in fact, a femme fatale (namely, a murderess) is left for the reader to decide as she takes them along in the story of her life. The result of Cain’s efforts is a larger-than-life female character, a spitfire with maternal longing and a hot temper. The story Cain gave her to tell is likewise one that readers, fans of suspenseful crime fiction, will not soon forget.
The novel is explosive and compact, a quick read that builds up thrills before tearing through a series of shocks to a conclusion the reader won’t see coming – I sure didn’t. Vividly capturing a bygone era as only the inhabitants of its time could, The Cocktail Waitress is delightfully atmospheric, with boldly imagined characters and a truly hard-boiled plot, making it a terrific tribute, thirty-five years later, to one of the crime genre’s most memorable writers.
Title: The Cocktail Waitress Author: James M. Cain Genre: Crime, mystery, noir Publisher: Hard Case Crime Release date: September 18, 2012 Source: Hard Case Crime (C/O) Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Better World Books Connect with the publisher: Website | Twitter | Facebook