with Harding Young

A Bullet for Cinderella

She was hard to find.
Hard to get.
Hard to kill.

So says the cover of A Bullet for Cinderella, another violent romp through the guts of humanity by John D. MacDonald. Having just finished the book, I can attest at least the first line is true. “Cindy” is definitely hard to find. But she’s frankly not all that hard to get, and it turns out she’s rather easy to kill. (Don’t worry, I’m not spoiling it for you — just note the title!) A bullet for Cinderella will keep her from going to the ball for good, and Prince Charming’s got his eye on some other vixen anyway.

For me, when summer nights get hot and I can barely breathe the steamy, humid air, I mix a cold Old Fashioned and crack open a hot pulp — and Johnny Mac is the perfect companion. He’s got a lexicon of dirty pulps that grip you and maybe you wish you could turn away but you can’t. Each tale is a treasure buried in the darkest regions of America’s soul.

I managed to get my hands on this first edition, published in 1955. It’s the story of a war vet who returns with a secret, and a lot of inner pain. He loses purpose and meaning and goes out in search of a treasure and… as it turns out… love. As one blogger put it, it reads as though MacDonald himself is jumping back into the arms of a jilted lover.

imageThe blog, incidentally, is called The Trap of Solid Gold, and it deliciously celebrates all the works of John D. MacDonald.

But perhaps you’re still a bit squeamish about him, not quite comfortable with peeling open these wicked skins and revealing all that dirty sex and violence. Take it from me… sometimes, one is simply overcome with the need.

I do not try to excuse it… I can try to explain it. It is an urgency that comes at times of danger. It is something deep in the blood, that urgency. It is a message from the blood. You may die. Live this once more, this last time.

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