I was previously impressed with Jerry M. Goff, Jr.’s Thrill Crazy and Wanton Wench! and continue to be so with Tropic of Carla. I have been amassing all his other books for future reading.
His novels aren’t perfect by any means, and have any number of flaws that many books like these do, but there is a certain assured quality of story-telling, mixed with good manly two-fisted hardboiled-ness typical of Merit/Novel Books, that tickle my noir funny bones.
Wanton Wench! was about a sea diving bum getting into some trouble because of a rich woman; Tropic of Carla is about a pilot bum getting into trouble because of a rich woman, Carla Lopez. The narrator, Dino Shawn, muses on it:
I had been in boxes before, but never like this. And all because of a beautiful woman with a fantastic figure. But what the hell? I thought. Life without beautiful women and fabulous builds wouldn’t be worth living. I had no other choice but to do General Lopez’ bidding. (p. 81)
Dino had been forced to fly a fighter plane for a small banana republic dictatrorship, a fictional Latin American country, Tammara…