Friday, 3 April 2009

Book Review - 'Night Has 1000 Eyes' by Cornell Woolrich

Cornell Woolrich (here writing under his oft-used ‘George Hopley’ pseudonym) has often been described as the ‘master of suspense’ and on this showing, the moniker is justly attributed.

Detective Tom Shawn is making his way home one night along the riverside and saves Jean Reid from a suicide attempt. As they start talking, Jean relays her fears concerning the sanity and life of her father. It transpires that a local clairvoyant has foretold Mr Reid’s death at the jaws of a lion, an alarming statement considering all of this strange man’s predictions have thus been proved true. A suspenseful story ensues as Shawn and Reid battle to save her father as the date of destiny fast approaches.

Despite being a gripping story in itself, this novel is a wonderful example of Woolrich’s artistic language and beautiful mastery of the noir genre. From the very first page we are plunged into an intense pulp fiction world, with Shawn’s innermost thoughts and feelings laid bare against a sensually descriptive noir landscape.

As one enjoys the delicate prose and evocative language, the reader is soon swept up in the story, masterfully spun, and set on a rollercoaster ride of suspense as the story reaches its climactic finale.

Cornell Woolrich is a wonderful author just waiting to be discovered and there’s no better book to discover him with than this one. ‘Night has a Thousand Eyes’ is a vital addition to any collector of quality noir fiction.

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