Big Man by Con Sellers (Novel Books, 1961)
This is my first Con Sellers book, although I have ordered several, and I’m not disappointed. This is tough guy man’s fiction that Novel/Merit specialized in.
After a week of lesbian books, how about some two-fisted crime noirs?
I can see how Con Sellers turned to men’s adventure and military books in the 1980s-90s, as he’s a good fit, with the main character’s memories of the Korean War.
The protagonist — the Big Man — is Ben Dano, local union head for dock workers in Monterey, California, post-sardine era. It’s Steinbeck land mixed with some Mickey Spillane and Orrie Hitt. Ben is six-foot-four and 240 pounds of muscles, a guy who can easily take on many hoods at once, as he does in the opening chapter.
The union local Dano heads has not gone on the national strike that all the others have. They see no point and would lose wages, and know it’s a mob thing to muscle in. Three goons come into Dano’s office to rough him up but he crushes hands and breaks ribs and knocks heads.
The union boss is mobbed up. His name is Mike Karl, and when local unions don’t follow orders from the national office, he uses muscle, bribes, assassins and lawyers to get his way. Ben Dano is not in his gun sites, but every time he sends a goon, the goon comes back a mess.
So he starts to send more sadistic killers, like one who puts acid in Ben Dano’s shaving lotion.
Dano has a number of women in his life, good and bad — his 19-year-old secretary, Anna, wants him to fuck her badly but he turns her down, probably because she’s the daughter of an old friend; there;s Mai Wong, a Chinese stripper, friend of Dano’s ex-gurlfriend, also a stripper; there’s Dee, an heriness in a Farrari secretly working with the union boss to break Dano down.
There’s a lot of viewpoint shifts that are a little awkward, and this is the first Novel title I’ve seen that isn’t written from the first-person POV.
It’s all full of fun violence and sex and tough talk, real Manhunt-style fiction. No heavy ideas of literary ambitions, just entertainment. I look forward to reading more Con Sellers.