Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
Fans of James M Cain have been waiting for a long time in anticipation for this book. Charles Ardai the brilliant editor of Hard Case Crime discovered Cocktail Waitress back in 2011.
The Cocktail Waitress is the story of a young waitress whose abusive husband died under rather strange circumstances. With a young child to take care of, she takes a job waitressing and becomes involved with two different men. One is a wealthy older man whom she unemotionally marries and the other is a handsome young schemer with whom she falls in love with. Despite the marriage, there is a continuing strain between all three of them and trouble of course ensues. The Cocktail Waitress is set during the 1950s and is told through the eyes of Joan a highly sexual femme fatal. We perceive the revealing drama through Joan’s eyes, while wondering what she is also concealing. As a character, she goes from penniless widow to skimpily dressed barmaid to a wife of a millionaire to murder suspect.
The book is as noir as one could expect from an author such as James M Cain. Very salacious and a tad pornographic in content it is one of those books that does have humour in it but of the dark variety.
If you have read any of Cain’s earlier then you will certainly enjoy The Cocktail Waitress. One can actually see the similarities of specifically one of his earlier works in this story as well. The sense of place is evocative of the period and he is very descriptive with his characters. Any aficionado will welcome this book and will take immense pleasure in reading it. I certainly did as it reminded me quite easily, why I enjoy reading noir stories above anything else. It is a shame that it is unlikely that there will be any more stories from this great writer.