The Kind One


Danny Landon knows his hoodlum acquaintances call him Two Gun Danny, but that is about all he knows about himself. His memory erased in some unknown incident, Danny works for a mobster nicknamed the Kind One, but something just isn’t right. He simply doesn’t feel like a gangster.

Nevertheless, he is ordered to keep an eye on the boss’s beautiful and irresistible girlfriend, Darla. Seeing Danny as her ticket away from the brutal boss, Darla tries to entice him to help. Add in an abused eleven-year-old neighbor girl also in need of rescuing, and Danny has more than he can handle, especially since he needs to find himself before he can possibly help anyone else.

Although this hardboiled mystery is set in 1930s Los Angeles, it reads more like a modern gangster story, with the setting being more of a veneer than providing a solid base. The voice, too, rings more true to this century than the last. The heaps of violence saturating the story feel much more like this age as well. Even so, the plot takes a long time to gather steam, like a locomotive laboring up a mountain pass. The reader should persevere, however, because about midway through the novel, the storyline picks up, and speeds to a satisfying conclusion. Danny at last finds out the truth about himself, but rather than putting him at ease, the knowledge places him, and his friends, in great danger.


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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







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