Clearly based on the case of the real-life "Lonely Hearts Killers" Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck - who were also the subject of the films The Honeymoon Killers and Deep Crimson - this is a fast-paced and gripping read; albeit one with a sting in the tail that I saw coming several pages from the end. Hard-bitten and hard-boiled, the 160 pages turn rapidly as the dark tale unfolds, with characters, situation and place economically evoked as the story barrels along in a manner reminiscent of the best of Harry Whittington and Gil Brewer. This is the type of paperback original with barely a word wasted that epitomises an almost vanished narrative style, and is one that a lot of overwritten and overwrought contemporary genre fiction could learn from. Therefore, it is highly recommended to fans of period hardboiled paperback originals; as this is what they were all about at their best.
AFTERWORD: Most of what I know about author Richard Deming, I know from the fantastic reference guide Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers Of The Paperback Era by Brian Ritt (Stark House Press, 2013). Although I was previously aware of his series character Manville "Manny" Moon, a private detective who occasionally featured in the pages of the crime digests like Manhunt, and the Mike Shayne and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines, and I also own some other Deming books I have yet to read (I own a LOT of books I have yet to read!), I was not previously aware of his many pseudonyms and short stories. Based on the entry in Paperback Confidential, it appears that Deming may be better known today (if at all) for the many TV tie-in paperbacks written under his own name and the pseudonym Max Franklin for such shows as Starsky And Hutch, Charlie's Angels and Vegas. However, based on this wonderfully entertaining literary jab to the solar plexus, I should get started on the other Deming books I own; and you should certainly get started with this one. I don't think you'll be disappointed and, based on a current internet search, there are a few reasonably priced copies of this one - and other Deming titles - available; although the UK Digit Books edition of Kiss and Kill (R438) shown above, and from the same publication year, seems to be a tougher edition to find.