The Far Cry / The Screaming Mimi
The first in a new series of Fredric Brown double-novels, The Far Cry / The Screaming Mimi could very well have been subtitled “The Way of the Knife.” And since this is Fredric Brown we’re talking about, the razor’s edge isn’t limited to the blade itself; it is a metaphor for the narrow ledge the characters navigate. Taken together we find Brown at the height of his powers. As with many of Brown’s narratives, the main characters are fueled by an alcoholic haze and are never far from their next drink. Although the boozing never becomes the story, it keeps the protagonists constantly teetering on the edge of collapse. The novels are daring for their time, awash in taboo subjects and frank language that would never, ever make it into the mystery films of the same period. It’s why people read potboilers in the first place. They wanted the gritty underbelly they couldn’t get anywhere else. The Screaming Mimi is an early take on the serial killer sub-genera, written long before it became mystery mainstream. The Far Cry is one of Brown’s darkest stories—a serpent’s tail that coils tighter and tighter around the narrator as attempts to unravel the knot of a young woman’s murder. One novel takes place in an authentically rendered Chicago—nightclubs, press rooms and police precincts; the other casts its drama in the forlorn deserts of New Mexico—a haunting, vast emptiness where ghosts don’t have to be seen to be felt. Fredric Brown double-novels are newly edited and presented in a format that gives these works the treatment they deserve. Reading a book is more than just reading a story. The Far Cry / The Screaming Mimi features a new introduction by Sci-Fi great Barry N. Malzberg, whose decades-long appreciation of Fredric Brown makes for a stirring kick-start to the new series.
We would LOVE it if you could help us and other readers by reviewing the book