The Expendable Man

The Expendable Man The critic HRF Keating chose The Expendable Man as one of his Crime Mystery The Best Books A late addition to the thirteen crime stories Dorothy B Hughes wrote with great success in one prolific s

  • Title: The Expendable Man
  • Author: Dorothy B. Hughes
  • ISBN: 9781903155585
  • Page: 243
  • Format: Paperback
  • The critic HRF Keating chose The Expendable Man as one of his Crime Mystery The 100 Best Books A late addition to the thirteen crime stories Dorothy B Hughes wrote with great success in one prolific spell between 1940 and 1952, it was, in his view, her best book But it is far than a crime novel Just as her earlier books had engaged with the political issueThe critic HRF Keating chose The Expendable Man as one of his Crime Mystery The 100 Best Books A late addition to the thirteen crime stories Dorothy B Hughes wrote with great success in one prolific spell between 1940 and 1952, it was, in his view, her best book But it is far than a crime novel Just as her earlier books had engaged with the political issues of the 1940s the legacy of the Depression, and the struggles against fascism and rascism so The Expendable Man, published in 1963 during Kennedy s presidency and set in Arizona, evokes the emerging social, racial and moral tensions of the time.

    • The Expendable Man BY Dorothy B. Hughes
      243 Dorothy B. Hughes
    • thumbnail Title: The Expendable Man BY Dorothy B. Hughes
      Posted by:Dorothy B. Hughes
      Published :2019-07-22T22:26:40+00:00

    About "Dorothy B. Hughes"

    1. Dorothy B. Hughes

      Dorothy B Hughes 1904 1993 was a mystery author and literary critic Born in Kansas City, she studied at Columbia University, and won an award from the Yale Series of Younger Poets for her first book, the poetry collection Dark Certainty 1931 After writing several unsuccessful manuscripts, she published The So Blue Marble in 1940 A New York based mystery, it won praise for its hardboiled prose, which was due, in part, to Hughes s editor, who demanded she cut 25,000 words from the book.Hughes published thirteen novels, the best known of which are In a Lonely Place 1947 and Ride the Pink Horse 1946 Both were made into successful films In the early fifties, Hughes largely stopped writing fiction, preferring to focus on criticism, for which she would go on to win an Edgar Award In 1978, the Mystery Writers of America presented Hughes with the Grand Master Award for literary achievement.

    439 thoughts on “The Expendable Man”

    1. If you could change one decision you made in your life, what would it be? I suspect we all could come up with an instance of "Oh, if I only knew then what I know now!" Well, Dorothy B. Hughes 1962 noir crime novel The Expendable Man features one Dr. Hugh Densmore who knows exactly what decision he would change. Driving from the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles where he is a resident physician across the desert to Phoenix for a family wedding, Dr. Hugh, playing the part of mister nice guy, take [...]

    2. 9781590174951NYRB Classics, 2012originally published 1963245 ppMy favorite fiction is the edgy, gritty kind where some poor guy, for some reason or another, gets drawn into a hopelessly screwed-up situation and finds that it just keeps getting worse, despite everything he does to try to escape. These kinds of stories start off innocuously enough, but within just a very short time the tension starts to build, joined by a restlessness and a sense of growing trepidation, neither of which let up unt [...]

    3. (3.5) Suppose you live in a time where your race defines what type of person you are.Suppose you live in a place where your race defines how people perceive you.Suppose you are of a race that is looked down upon by a supposed superior one.With the criteria above, does that make you expendable? Does that make you a good 'john' to frame for a murder? In the case of Dr. Hugh Densmore, it does.This noir/mystery/thriller doesn't have any true twists or turns that make you think, 'hmmmm????', yet it w [...]

    4. Sometime in the late 1950s or early '60s, young Dr. Hugh Densmore is driving his mother's Caddliac from Los Angeles to Phoenix to attend a family wedding. Just outside of Indio, he discovers a young girl along the side of the road, apparently hoping to catch a ride. Anyone with a lick of brains, and certainly anyone who reads crime fiction understands that offering this girl a ride would be a really dumb thing to do.It is. But Densmore does it anyway and then, of course, must spend the rest of t [...]

    5. A friend recommended this but there was no available copy at the library, so I checked out Hughes's first novel, The So Blue Marble, and read that while I waited for The Expendable Man to come in. Reading the author's first and then last books in succession turned out to be fascinating. The So Blue Marble was a bizarre little mystery notable for its atmospheric creepiness and nearly unbearable sense of dread. The story was silly and the whole thing didn't make too much sense, but its mood was so [...]

    6. For some reason I'm encountering medical students in everything I read. At any rate, pretty cool stuff. I wish I could say something about the plot, but since it's a twisty turny noir, to do so would be less than ideal. What I will say about it is that it's been a while since I started reading a book where, within a few pages, I wished for nothing more than to be able to shut out all the annoyances of real life and just read it straight through start to finish. I do notice, however, that none of [...]

    7. A fine example of classic noir with a social conscience from one of the greats of the genre. The impact of her portrait of America in the early 60s has surely been lost over the past fifty years but the bravery of challenging her readers perceptions and preconceived notions is still more than obvious. As usual she writes with a great eye for the small details and finding the humanity in her characters - whether good or bad - and the tension she creates from her protagonist's quite reasonable per [...]

    8. Thoroughly enjoyed this, enjoyed it far more than I initially thought I would. A split second decision and Dr Hugh Densmore knew that he would rue the day he stopped for a young woman on the side of the road.What I enjoyed about this novel was the plausibility of the story. I think we've all made a decision on the spur of the moment - even though alarm bells are ringing but you ignore them and your decision comes back to bite youg time. I loved the underlying tension, disquiet of the story, it w [...]

    9. It was a solid read. I found it really authentic,and it was based on more protagonist's inner monologues than plots,which I found intriguing. Here are some memorable lines;・He understood and he appreciated but he didn't tell her so.Because he couldn't   accept the intimacy which was rising between them. He couldn't endure the knowing it must lead to nothing, no more than the finality of a good-bye, it's been fun knowing you.・The windows were painted black.Here and again on them were vivi [...]

    10. I picked up Dorothy B. Hughes' The Expendable Man on a whim, forgetting, actually, that I had added one of her other books, Blackbirder to my 'to-read' shelf some time ago. Primarily I was interested because it is a crime novel (by a woman) set in Arizona and from the cover description, it sounded like the main character was in some way dubious or not what he seemed--I love those unreliable narrators. About 60 pages into the book, however, my expectations were completely turned on their head in [...]

    11. Good crime novels are very often characterized by the short & sharp quality of the prose, the hard clean lines of the structure. Very much the case here, with a story that moves very quickly through an environment that is described in brief, effective strokes.Something else, though, and that is a vein of sympathetic insight running through the necessarily noirish circumstances. Tough situations in some hard-crime novels are sometimes left a little unexamined due to the constraints of the tel [...]

    12. noir usually has the patsie either as innocent-but-screwed, or hardon driven, or greedy, or devil may care, what have you. and then said dupe gets all sideways and violence etc ensues. dorothy hughes' noir is much more insidious, and psychological, and mysterious, though the very 1st sentence is a VERY big clue to what the evil is. so the patsie/straightman picks up a woman teenage hitchhiker who turns out to be a cockelbur in the hair you just can't get out, and makes the dupe, guilty guilty gu [...]

    13. If THE EXPENDABLE MAN was just a noir novel it’d be good. It’s well plotted, with believable characters, and follows the innocent-wronged trope that drives much such narratives. But there’s a trick at the core of this book, not a gimmick, but a turn of perspective that takes the story down a different path, one both familiar to the genre but made unique and more substantial because of that revelation. Dorothy B. Hughes uses this switch to not only add another layer of anxiety to the procee [...]

    14. Why Dorothy Hughes is not as acclaimed as Raymond Chandler, I do not know. A completely different type of writer, I know, but every bit as good. Her stories are pitch perfect, her characters almost impossibly real, as if she had a means to get inside the head of every person she's met randomly on the street or sat across from on a public bus. And her unobtrusive way of describing place and time, and even the passage of time, is so complete it seems effortless. When I'm not reading one of her boo [...]

    15. Dr Hugh Densmore acts as a good Samaritan and picks up a hitchhiker in the middle of the desert. Iris clearly is hiding things from him, her lies stand out in their journey to Phoenix. Once there Hugh thinks her is rid of her, however when a young girls's body is found in a canal Hugh's unease heightens.A must read, crime noir from one of the greatest writers of the genre. Filled with dread, unease and characters you care about, this novel should be read by all.

    16. This would have been a great novel for Hitchcock to film, sort of like The Wrong Man with overtones of racism and police intransigence. A young black doctor is driving in a white Cadillac from Los Angeles, where he is an intern at UCLA Medical Center, to Phoenix. He makes the mistake of picking up a teenage female hitchhiker around Indio. When her body is found in a canal near Scottsdale, suspicion falls on the doctor, especially when it appears the girl has had a cheap abortion.Not only are the [...]

    17. Interesting twist on noir with an interesting (and unfortunately still timely) message about the injustice of the law against people of color. Can't say I was down with the diatribes against abortion but I guess that's to be expected based on when it was written.

    18. “The germ or seed was always a place, a background scene. And against that background, there began a dialogue or a monologue; whatever it was, a conversation. Then I would begin to recognise the characters. The plotting was the final step; it was people and places that interested me, not gimmicks.”(Dorothy B Hughes in the MWA Handbook)When I finished reading The Expendable Man and turned to the afterword it was lovely to see the author’s own words about her writing. And lovely to be able t [...]

    19. The Expendable man is a breathtaking taut 1960's thriller, using a well known plot - that of the wrongly accused man. But where I think Dorothy B Hughes novel differs from other similiar type novels is her brilliant socialogical exploration of the difficult times she was writing in. In 1963 Kennedy was president, the civil rights movement were trying to make a difference, and it was the year Martin Luther King made his iconic "I have a dream" speech. The sense of time and place is wonderful, esp [...]

    20. Tony Perez (Editor, Tin House Books): I kind of can’t believe Dorothy B. Hughes’s last novel, The Expendable Man, ever went out of print (as always: God Bless You, NYRB). I figured the story would be solid—this is the woman that wrote the source material for one of my all-time favorite films, Nicholas Ray’s In A Lonely Place—but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by her writing on a sentence level: it’s spare and moves along at a nice clip, but never verges on pulp. It’s a strange li [...]

    21. I've always wanted to read a book by Dorothy Hughes. I'm not sure why I started with her last book, The Expendable Man (1962), except for the fact that it has been recently republished.If her last book is any indication of her oeuvre, her work is similar in quality and style to Patricia Highsmith's.I was floored by the revelation that comes a third of the way through the book. She so skillfully manipulates the narrative that, if you're not paying close attention, you'll get blindsided. I would h [...]

    22. The story begins with a man who is overly nervous, and you are not sure why. He picks up a hitch hiker and the story unfolds from there. The plot unravels in ways you don't expect - there is no typical "crazy hitch hiker" story here - just a story about a man and the presumptions made upon him.A very tense read that makes you question the assumptions you make in literature/life. The writing makes it so you are in strong empathy with the main character, adding to the stress you feel for him as a [...]

    23. The Expendable Man is a superb "in the wrong place at the wrong time" noir, with a twist. The twist isn't at the end, but who knows when you will discover it? Honestly, I was wondering about it until it was revealed. But perhaps you, dear reader, will detect it sooner. Written in a clipped, minimalist, journalistic tone in the Hemingway style, Ms. Hughes draws you in immediately and fully engages you as the plot unfolds. It is an engaging, compulsive, even, at times, exasperating read. Highly re [...]

    24. Excellent Noir about a doctor who picks up a mysterious girl who ends up causing him all kinds of trouble. Althought the noir/mystery elements are very well written, the twist (not so much a plot as a character twist) actually makes this much more valuable as an examination of society. Go into it knowing as little as possible and you will be rewarded.

    25. An excellent mystery novel. The language is stripped down, the suspense feels very real and compelling, and the plot is impeccably paced. Readers will benefit from having as little knowledge as possible going into it. Recommend.

    26. Absolutely fantastic. Each page just bristles with tensionA crime novel mixed with racism of early 1960s America (LA to Phoenix) mixed with a family wedding, abortion, small town policing and much more. Well drawn characters, beautifully textured plot strung out right to the last pages.

    27. A very smart, cleverly written and well paced noir. Hughes places an interesting spin on the wrong man noir genre here, with a soaring critique and indictment of societal prejudices and injustices.

    28. Here’s a problem: what reason would a man have for feeling afraid when giving a woman a ride in his car? The man is well off, if not rich; he is a professional, he is training to be a doctor; he has done nothing at all wrong in the world. He is absolutely within his legal rights to stop and give a lift to whoever sticks out their thumb in whatever corner of his home country. And yet he feels very strongly that if he gives a ride to a young woman then something terrible will happen to him.Let's [...]

    29. I've just recently discovered Dorothy Hughes. I'm not the biggest mystery reader but have read enough Highsmith, Chandler, and Cain (and have seen enough Bogart, Mitchum, Andrews, et al) to know I like noir and in that regard Hughes has been a revelation. She's the noir writer for our era, more political and subversive than those more recognizable authors and just as stylish. I couldn't believe my eyes reading In A Lonely Place how well she cleaved to the distorted perceptions of the main charac [...]

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