Nightmare Town. Dashiell Hammett. Dell #379, 1948. Contains four stories: Nightmare Town, The Scorched Face, Albert Pastor at Home, and Corkscrew.
Each of the stories is high quality, full of Hammett’s inimitable character descriptions and clean action prose. All four work very well together, exposing the corruption and crime that lay hidden beneath the seemingly banal surface of Western towns and small cities.
“The ebony stick swung swifter in his hand…Spun to the clicking tune of wood on bone, on metal weapons; to the duller rhythm of wood on flesh.”