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Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliott Chaze is one of the best books I’ve read recently–thriller, mystery, or otherwise. First published in 1953, it’s one of those “lost classics” of which, wonderfully, there seems to be no lack. The New York Review of Books rescued the novel from obscurity.
At its core, Black Wings is a tense noir about the relationship between two morally dubious individuals and a heist in a small town out West. And like the best kind of noir, it’s funny, nasty, bleak, and exciting—often at the same time. Chaze’s quotable dialogue raises the two main characters above being mere disenchanted, post-war nihilists. There’s a visceral undercurrent of doom in every sentence, perhaps even in every word.
Andrew Duncan is the Director of Digital Marketing and Content Strategy at Grand Central Publishing. He likes reading and watching stories about people who make poor moral decisions.