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Handsome Harry : a novel

by Blake, James Carlos.

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Blake,
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Blake,

They were die-hard and deadly partners who made national headlines with their daring bank holdups and gun battles -- and they had a lot of laughs while they were at it. They were known as the Dillinger Gang, but at its heart was "Handsome Harry" Pierpont -- tough, fearless, intelligent, and sworn to live by no law but his own.

Presented as his intimate "confessions," Harry's story takes us from his teenage days as a small-time crook to the pinnacle of his notoriety to his final hours in the penitentiary death house.

In prison, young Harry meets equally young John Dillinger, and they form an unassailable friendship. After John is paroled he helps Harry pull off one of the most infamous prison escapes in U.S. history. Then John is jailed and Harry must in turn liberate him; but the jailbreak comes at a tragic cost and ultimately seals Harry's fate.

In four blazing months of freedom before he meets that fate, Harry and John and their three steadfast partners -- Red, Russell, and Fat Charley -- establish themselves as the most legendary outlaw gang of the twentieth century. They rob banks. Shoot it out with police and federal agents and rival gangs. Make harrowing getaways. And all the while -- from the Midwest to Florida to Arizona, and in the company of their bold and memorable women -- they have a grand time of it.

Crafted in James Carlos Blake's signature style of fast-paced violence, sizzling sex, and darkly raucous humor, Handsome Harry brings to life a thrilling chapter from the chronicles of American crime.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Butch, Sundance, Bonnie, and Clyde shot their way to the top of the antihero cinema heap in the 1970s with stories as celebratory as they were melancholic. This energetic tale, loosely based on the life and times of the Depression-era heist gang headed by Handsome Harry Pierpont and John Dillinger, is of a piece with those wonderful bank-robber hagiographies. But here in the authority-revering twenty-first century, the cultural moment may be past for sympathizing with good-timing thugs all too willing to gun down a sheriff as he sits at his desk chatting with his wife. Giving the story more thematic heft might have saved it from seeming as anachronistic as its subjects. But taken simply as a breezy, blood-soaked tip of the fedora to simpler times, the novel cooks harder than sly narrator Pierpont does when he meets his inevitable appointment with Old Sparky after a four-month spree that left the Midwest agog. Ably squeezing the last drop of juice from a familiar outlaw narrative, Blake brings this gin-soaked era roaring back to life. --Frank Sennett Copyright 2003 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Blake's eighth novel, like his recent Under the Skin (2003), stars an antihero narrator in a world of Depression-era crime. As Harry Pierpont, the self-described leader of the bank-robbing Dillinger Gang, awaits electrocution in Ohio for the murder of a sheriff, he recalls his adventures in a narrative that reads like a good as-told-to true crime story. His teenage criminal apprenticeship prepares him for a career as an "independent fundraiser," aka a stick-up man. With his friend Earl Northern, he holds up his first bank at 21; when their second heist goes awry, Harry ends up in the state reformatory, where he first meets John Dillinger. An escape attempt lands him in the Michigan City, Ind., state pen, and there Harry learns the systematized approach to bank robbery his gang will employ years later after Dillinger helps them escape. The heady account of the ensuing four-month crime spree has the gang taking down banks, buying new cars, mooning over women and shooting policemen in the face. Harry's voice is the smooth, almost affectless vernacular of a hardened con it's convincing, but it also keep readers at a certain distance. Add that to Harry's exhibited brutality, pitilessness and fixation on sex (the book has a lot of erections and much is made of the relative size of John and Harry's members), and Blake has created a deeply flawed character, eloquent enough to tell his tale but perhaps not perceptive enough to understand its significance. Fans of true crime and gangster stories will undoubtedly enjoy this "ripped from the history books" adventure as seen through Harry's lens of tough verisimilitude. 6-city author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Pierpont, Harry, -- 1902-1934 -- Fiction.
Dillinger, John, -- 1903-1934 -- Fiction.
Criminals -- Fiction.
Middle West -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Publisher New York :W. Morrow,2004
Edition 1st ed.
Other Titles Handsome Harry
Language English
Description 304 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 0060554789 (hc.)
0060554797 (pbk.)
Other Classic View