|Falling Angel - William Hjortsberg - Fawcett Popular Library - 1982|
But more than just its hard-boiled style, which I'm always a sucker for, Falling Angel is also about setting. It's New York in the 1950's. Central Park, Coney Island, Harlem, subways, voodoo rituals, Black Mass ceremonies, they all play a role in private eye Harry Angel's search for missing crooner Johnny Favorite. It's the kind of novel that you'll read the first 20 pages of and then it's too late, you're hooked for the full ride.
Most people are probably more familiar with the movie with Mickey Rourke, which was a decent flick. But as perfect as Rourke was in the role, the movie came up short by going south, instead of keeping it all in New York as the novel did. If you've seen the movie, which I haven't mentioned by name, you might think that skipping Hjortsberg's novel is fine. I can only say that if you're a horror fan, a noir fan, a mystery fan, whatever, read it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.