PAUL CONNOLLY – Tears Are For Angels. Black Gat #24 / Stark Huse Press, paperback, February 2020. First published as Gold Medal #224, paperback original, 1952. Cover art by Barye Phillips.

   I’m sure that back in 1952 no one knew that Paul Connolly was a pen name, much less for someone by the name of Tom Wicker. And even if they had, how would they have known what Tom Wicker was going to go on to be, or in other words a highly respected and long-time reporter for the New York Times? But that’s what happened, and even more than that, in terms of the book itself, this one’s a good one.

   And it’s also a prime example of what we collectors of old 1950s Gold Medal paperbacks point to when we say that Gold Medal was the greatest publisher of hardboiled/noir pulp fiction of all time, bar none.

   The plot is both a complicated one, and a simple one. I’ll try to summarize it, though, in the latter vein. At the beginning of the book one-armed Harry London is living the life of a drunken, unshaven (not to mention unbathed) recluse, regretting the night he found his wife Lucy, the love of his life, in bed with another man.

   In what followed, Lucy ended up dead, Harry lost an arm, and the other man? He got away. Now, several years later,along comes Jean, a friend of Lucy’s, wondering what had happened to her. What also happens is that Jean awakens something in Harry, and together they find themselves planning, if not to change the past, then to avenge it.

   Their scheme is too complicated to work, but is it? Hatred burns in both them, and though a fake marriage is part of heir plan, neither of them will admit what the reader will know at once, and I’ll wager you do too, right now, without my saying another word.

   But make no bones about it. Fate and a sense of doom have taken over them, and part of the fascination in reading on to the end is to discover if they can ever find their way out of the morass of conflicting emotions they find themselves in. It is not at all certain that they will, and may I suggest to you that they do

   This is true noir, in other words, and this is a book that’s well enough written that once read, you will not easily forget it. Guaranteed and recommended.

        Books by Paul Connolly —

Get Out of Town. Gold Medal 1951
Tears Are for Angels. Gold Medal 1952
So Fair, So Evil. Gold Medal 1955