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Return to Book Page. Preview — Nightfall by David Goodis. Nightfall by David Goodis ,. Bill Pronzini Introduction. Is he an innocent artist who just happens to have some very dangerous people interested in him? It is a fiendishly constructed maze, filled with unpredictable pitfalls and human predators whose authenticity only makes them more terrifying. David Goodis — , a former pulp, radio, and Hollywood script writer, is now recognized as a leading author of crime fiction.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 1st by Centipede Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Nightfall , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Nightfall. Dec 07, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing. Back when David Goodis' noir novel Nightfall was first published, Beat Generation critic Seymour Krim wrote as part of his book review for the New York Times : "There is much Freud in the air, much Faulkner in the sentence, much Hemingway in the talk.
But any way you slice it, it's the old chase again. Goodis serves up big, strong James Vanning as the ultimate victim of circumstances. Vanning is ex-Navy, driving to Chicago where his new dream job as a commercial art Back when David Goodis' noir novel Nightfall was first published, Beat Generation critic Seymour Krim wrote as part of his book review for the New York Times : "There is much Freud in the air, much Faulkner in the sentence, much Hemingway in the talk.
Vanning is ex-Navy, driving to Chicago where his new dream job as a commercial artist awaits, when he rounds a bend and hits a broken down station wagon. No sooner does he come to a halt than a serious-looking fellow walks up and points a gun between his eyes. Turns out, gunslinger and his two buddies crashed their getaway car fleeing from a Seattle bank robbery.
They need a car and Vanning's car will do just fine. Vanning is forced to join them - he's seen too much. The four travel to a hotel in Denver and the robbers put Vanning in the bathroom.
After some time, Vanning tries the door, its unlocked and when he comes out, to his amazement, he's alone with the sack of bills and a revolver siting out in the open on a bureau. He grabs both and flees. But he doesn't get far; in the hallway a stranger sticks a gun in his ribs every citizen has the right to bear arms and forces Vanning to take a side exit. Once alone, far from the hotel and out in the woods, the stranger lets down his guard and Vanning pulls out the revolver and shots as an act of self-defense.
He grabs the sack and runs for it but in his haste and terror, Vanning looses the money along the way. Thus we have James Vanning, a man on the run, pursued left and right, bank robbers on one side who think he still has their money and police on the other who deduce he committed grand larceny and murder.
A hunted man, James Vanning makes his way to New York City's Greenwich Village, changes his name and sets up his own studio to work as a commercial artist. David Goodis is good at writing novels about the guy on the run, like Dark Passage where Vince Parry is wrongly handed a life sentence for allegedly murdering his wife and becomes a perpetual fugitive from the law a controversy developed between Goodis and ABC over their prime time TV show, The Fugitive.
Bleak, nihilist Black Friday is another such novel featuring Al Hart bolting to Philadelphia after killing his brother. Al gets mixed up with gangsters in the City of Brotherly Shove with heaps of Goodis-style sex and violence in the mix. Black Friday is pulp fiction, but this book is worth the read to observe the close connection between American postwar fiction and stark alienation portrayed by French existentialists such as Camus and Sartre.
On the topic of pulp fiction, it is worth noting as a beginning writer under a string of pseudonyms David Goodis churned out dozens and dozens and dozens of novels at a furious pace, sometimes a book a week. I can picture the typical reader, a family man, in the late s forking across his hard won quarter to read all about someone much like himself caught in the snare of stolen loot and murder. As a study in cover design for reader appeal, check out the two covers below: the lurid original from destined for the dime store and the reissue that found its way to bookstores: Nightfall , a psychological thriller complete with intellectual, empathetic detective and heart of gold knockout dame.
Like Hansel and Gretel confronting the wicked witch, Vanning learns what is needed is not honesty but cleverness. And how about those two Denver mysteries: Why did Vanning find the money and revolver sitting out for the taking? What ever happened to all that cash? The answers are revealed in the dramatic closing scene. Slap down your quarters on the counter, or, more likely, punch the purchase button on your computer to find out all about it. American author David Goodis, - View all 11 comments.
Since embarking upon a marathon read of David Goodis with the occasional interruption of reading lesser novels by more contemporary authors , I have been completely stunned by his unique narrative voice. But this one- oh, my sweet banana! It would make a terrific film noir and was in fact made into one directed by the immortal film director Jacques Tourneur in starring the great Aldo Ray as protagonist-in-a-jam and on-the-lam "James Jim Vanning Since embarking upon a marathon read of David Goodis with the occasional interruption of reading lesser novels by more contemporary authors , I have been completely stunned by his unique narrative voice.
It would make a terrific film noir and was in fact made into one directed by the immortal film director Jacques Tourneur in starring the great Aldo Ray as protagonist-in-a-jam and on-the-lam "James Jim Vanning" and Vanning's dogged villainous pursuer, "John" as portrayed by one of my favortites: Brian Keith. This was such a terrific reading experience that I'm tempted to encourage any Goodis new-comers to start with this one but if you do you'll only wind up expecting this kind of action-driven thrill-packed suspenseful noir with every Goodis novel you encounter.
Most of Goodis' novels are character driven. Studies of men from upper middle-class backgrounds who have descended into the grim slime of poverty and associations with petty criminals.
These guys also usually have a craving for bad, bad, bad, mostly overly voluptuous and almost always sexually dominant femme fatales. The cause of this is usually due to some basic flaw in the protagonist's personality or circumstances that led him to make foolish moves that greased the tracks for his slide down into life's "other side" or else oblivion.
He's just another schmuck like you or me who gets involved with a deadly gang of double-crossing bank robbing pros who set him up to be their fall guy in an ill-fated heist. I can't say more about this novel. It's too easy to let a spoiler or two slip out. You read this and you just want to rhapsodize the praises of David Goodis. David Goodis is the patron saint of the hard-luck loser. He's better than any two of your favorite noirists.
I thought nobody could beat Charles Willeford at this game. I thought Jim Thompson was as tough as they come. I thought no character ever cracked wiser than Philip Marlowe when he's run out of luck. I was wrong. David Goodis is a writer of breath-taking prose and a creator of a hopelessness no genre character ever had to claw his way out of. The green of the hotel room, the orange carpet, or maybe it wasn't orange - it could have been purple, a lot of those colors could have been other colors - but the one color about which there was no mistake was black.
Because black was the color of a gun View all 3 comments. While reading this book, I sliced my thumb on a fan blade, didn't realize it I'm so accident prone I'm always doing something like this , and settled in to read.
Before I turned the page, I looked down and saw blood. How appropriate for reading crime fiction! View all 5 comments. Nightfall is the third David Goodis novel I've read, and I'm hooked on his compact, visceral, and vivid crime titles. The basic premise in Nightfall concerns an innocent man--Jim Vanning--who by happenstance ends up with a satchel of grand.
Then he loses it while fleeing through the boondocks, and he can't remember just where. A likely story. Of course, he's in love with a young lady--Martha Gardner--who may, or may not, be involved in the money's baffling disappearance. I like the seamless Nightfall is the third David Goodis novel I've read, and I'm hooked on his compact, visceral, and vivid crime titles.
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In pulp fiction circles, the name David Goodis is spoken reverentially and this trio of stories makes it clear why he is held in such regard by authors and readers alike. He is one of the crime writers who elevated the dime store paperback into an art form and Goodis did this by plumbing the depth of the human soul — perfect noir territory. He is a master of the runaway story where characters have no control over spiralling events and are desperately seeking to keep their heads above water against seemingly insurmountable odds — these stories are good examples of that. One of the first thing that struck me about this collection is that the stories are a darker versions of the hard-boiled, noir image presented by Hollywood, the stories are well crafted but unvarnished. These are the same mean streets under a brighter spotlight. Perhaps that is why he only ever completed a couple of screenplays, his bleak vision is not easily watered down brutal violence, rape and ingrained corruption.
Where discerning readers can get up to date coverage of crime movies, books and comics. Here you can expect news, interviews, essays, recommendations and enthusiastic ramblings about crime fiction in all its exciting forms. Goodis' protagonist, "Jim Vanning," is remarkably capable of dealing with the adversity that continuously confronts him, much more so than the author's usual protagonist. Enjoying catching up with Goodis' other work, more than half a century after seeing the Truffaut adaptation and picking up a paperback edition of Down There. Glad to see the man is back in print