The Passion Hunters – Orrie Hitt (Domino Books, 1964)
I liked Hitt’s other Domino titles, all 40,000 words crammed into 128-pages of small type — The Color of Lust and Lust Prowl were decent reads, albeit flawed in the way a prolific authors’ many books tend to be. Loose Women wasn’t bad.
Can’t say the same for The Passion Hunters, also published as This Wild Desire in 1966. Hitt delves into the world of the small town radio station and the woes of running it financially sound, as seen in Ladies Man, Women’s Ward, and The Lion’s Den.
The narrator is Brad Norton, who is hoping to keep his radio station afloat by getting rich alcoholic curmudgeon Charlie Fulton interested in investing. To buddy up with Fulton, Brad spends several weekends out at Fulton’s country estate by Martha’s Creek, hunting deer, drinking, and doing manly things — like having sex.
The three women that Brad juggles are Helen, a woman who works at the station whom he occasionally sleeps with; Lucy, the comely cook at the country place; and Betty, Fulton’s daughter, who tries to convince Brad if he gets her pregnant, her daddy couldn’t refuse him — or her — anything, and would put money into a failing station.
The little novel starts off well, and seems different from other run-of-the-mill Hitts, but half-way through starts to fall apart simply because nothing happens. There is little tension or plot and you start to think, “So what?”
On the Hitt Scale, a 4.5.