On writer Ed Gorman’s blog, he writes about the upcoming reprint of two of Vin Packer’s vintage Gold Medal thrillers. I thought the way he described Packer’s characters was eloquent…and entertaining in its own right.
What unites the two types of Packer books is what the people of both worlds have in common–secrets. Terrible secrets. Secrets that eat at them like a feverish disease. Secrets that will ultimately destoy them–they’ll explode if these secrets are revealed; they’ll implode when they reach the point where they can no longer drag themselves through another day of the masquerade.
The secrets can be sexual, financial, social, criminal. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they’re hiding out inside themselves, trying to cauterize their wounds with drink, drugs in the later books, sex, vengeance, rage. Of course, these spiritual sedatives produce nothing more than further–and sometimes fatal–alienation.
I also learned something I didn’t know before: hardboiled Vin Packer was actually the pseudonym of a woman — Marijane Meaker.