Aura of Sensuality by Ennis Willie (Merit Books, 1963)
Ennis Willie’s smooth tough guy Sand, who “no man walks on,” heads into upper New York state small town Bent’s Landing to find out who murdered his old buddy, Eddie. Sand must find out because he has “blood pack” — Eddie had given up some organs for Sand in the past, so Sand carries parts of Eddie inside him.
Bent’s Landing is almost Orrie Hitt territory in location and populace — you have your drunks, your shameless hussies, your mindless thugs. No one wants him to solve Eddie’s murder — not the sheriff, not the townspeople, not the killer.
Eddie was writing short stories and novels about his and Sand’s days “in the war” — not a government war, but a war in the syndicate. Eddie was also having an affair with the wife of a seven-foot thug. There are many who could have killed Eddie.
Along the way, Sand sleeps with a couple of woman, of course, and kills people, and gets injured…
The set-up is like an old Western, the mysterious gun man who rides into town, gets all the men jealous and the women’s panties wet.
A smooth book but I am still not convinced Ennis Willie is all that…I need to read a non-Sand novel. I’ll keep looking since the writing, on a sentence level, is top notch.