Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Report #36 - Branded Woman by Wade Miller

This is one of my many Hard Case Crime books that I've been collecting for years.  I only dip into them once in a while.  They are such at treat to read that I don't want to rush through them.

This story really showed its age.  There was some pretty stilted dialog and some rather narrow minded views of women.

This is a story of revenge, Cay Morgan is on her way to Mazatlan to kill a man.  She's a thief who got in the way of a rival know as The Trader.  He kidnapped her and branded her forehead with the letter 'T' as a warning to stay out of his business.  For five years she's been trying to track him down.

The story started off pretty nicely, exotic locale, independent, strong female character and sinister people around every corner.  Unfortunately the whole story unraveled at exactly page 152 where she instantly turns into a dish rag and wants to give everything up simply because she's finally found - A MAN!


No Way!


Up to this very moment she'd been smarter and tougher than anybody she'd come across but one roll in the hay and she loses every ounce of credibility!  It took me so completely out of the book that I couldn't enjoy the last 50 pages.  The book had a very satisfying ending but it just didn't matter because I lost all respect for Cay.

To be fair; this was written in 1952 so the stereotypes are not be much of a surprise; it's just that the scene on page 152 went completely against her character that it just blew it for me.

So, okay, here it is (I just have to share this) the last few paragraphs of chapter 21.

SPOILER ALERT!  If you still want to read the book (and you should, it's good) but don't want to know what I'm talking about, do not read beyond this point.

"Look at me," he commanded. She looked at him, and his face was a frightening sinewy mask.  "You've got something else now. Me.  I'm yours and you're mine.  I've taken you over and I've taken over your debts.  I'm not asking you to give up anything.  But from now on, I pay the bills for both of us."

"No, Walt!  Afterward, I can come to you,belong to you truly --"

His hand went out to the table, picked up his long-barreled revolver that lay there.  "This belongs to me.  So do you.  I'll handle you both."  He put the gun back and pulled her slowly to his chest, showing her his brutal strength.  "Do you believe me?"

She felt his mouth master her, felt her resolve melting into his reservoir of male power.  She cried desperately, "I want to believe you!  Oh, how much I want to believe you!".

"I'll show you."  He released her and went to the lanterns on the wall.  His eyes locked with hers, he said, "Now we can put out the lights, like normal people, for normal reasons."  She held out her arms to the darkness, and he found her.

"Beautiful," he said, "Any time -- in the light or in the dark -- you're the most beautiful woman in the world.  And you're mine."

"Yes," she said, "Yes, my darling."

I've needed you always, her trembling form implored him, and even as she clasped him to her she thought joyously, I belong to somebody, at last I belong to somebody!


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