You didn’t think I’d reach the magic number of one hundred book reviews, did you? No, you did not. I’m pretty sure you put down your bottle of Soylent, turned to a friend  and then in snarky tones said something like “
Orange Bald Man Bad. He’ll never get there.” Well, you snarky NPC cunt, here it is. My hundredth book review.
With that out of the way, dear reader, lets get on with my impressions of the second volume in Michael Avallones Ed Noon series, The Spitting Image. Pull out your world atlas, find the page with Hard-boiled City on it, and then find downtown because that’s where Avallone is taking us here – hard-boiled central. This is a seedy side of town with corrupt Irish cops, whiskey-drinking private detectives, and pretty dames you wouldn’t dare make beneficiaries of your life insurance policy.
Dames, especially the good-looking ones, were always getting into trouble. This was a very good-looking one. That meant only one thing to me. A lot of trouble.
This one gets off to a flier. A sassy blonde, June Wexler, comes running into Noon’s office begging his help. Her French chauffeur, Anton, has been putting the moves on her and she’s only just shaken him off to find her way to Noon . Now, Ed Noon wasn’t born yesterday, I can tell you that, so he’s immediately suspicious. Halfway through the interview, Anton comes in and suddenly June seems to goad him into attacking Noon with his French savate. A tear-up ensues but the fisticuffs are rudely interrupted by an unknown stranger who fires through the doorway and shoots Anton dead before running off.
I stepped over Anton and went to the telephone. The Wexler dame was still crying. I looked at my watch. Eight-thirty-five. And I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
It turns out that June is the twin sister of April, both of them socialite heiresses about to inherit a huge fortune. Only, there’s a catch. Their scumbag of a dead father stipulated in his will that only one sister can inherit, and only if the other is dead. If both survive to reach twenty-one, the fortune goes to charity. Their birthday is only a few days ago. June swears April is trying to have her murdered, and suffered near misses already.
It’s a good little mystery, including the usual hounding Noon gets from grouchy cops resentful of his interference, and some shyster lawyers, and so on. Noon is a good-looking lad so the dames seem to fall for him but he can’t ever shake the feeling he’s being set up. Hard-boiled fiction is like that, everyone is working an angle and nothing is as it seems.
Avallone has quickly hit his stride with The Spitting Image. There is none of the awkward start like his first book, The Tall Dolores. Like that one, this second book races through with lean prose, push-forward plotting, and no fat on its ass. When Noon finally figures out the mystery, it makes sense without cheap devices.
Two things that really jump out of the Noon series, as I confirmed reading the next two volumes, are (i) Avallone will put in brutal violence, especially against the hot women, (ii) Most of the women are utter cunts. In this story an innocent woman is burned alive and the blow isn’t at all softened. The baddies are not messing around. Many crime writers find a way to ensure pretty women never quite take their lumps . The twin sisters alternate between nymphomania and frigidity, and aren’t very likeable.
It’s a good book. I expect to keep reading the Noon series.
If you want to see a range of real women varying between nymphomania and frigidity you likely can’t do better than my memoirs available here, or my daygame textbooks.
NOTE: The paperback Younger Hotter Tighter is currently unavailable while I resolve a printing issue. There’s so much red ink on certain pages that it’s clogging the printing machine (according to Ingram). The hardback doesn’t appear to be affected.
 If you’ve got any.
 I always said, “you can’t trust the French”.
 Unless its a serial killer story, in which case that sexual violence is the whole point. But Noon books are different, this particular story is about greed not sadism. The unlucky woman is simply in the way.