I was happy to find a UK No Exit Press edition of Paul Cain's FAST ONE the other day. I had no intention of reading it. I thought it would be neat to have and the introduction and facsimile of Cain's original book jacket bio was neat too. But over the holiday weekend I needed something to read so I grabbed it. And then it grabbed me. Like never before. This is probably the third or fourth time I've read the book, and while I've previously written on the topic of Cain and his work, this time I want to amend that article and say that, yes, Paul Cain's FAST ONE is the hardest hard-boiled novel ever written and deserves all the praise and wonder it has received since the original publication date. (It also deserves the complaints.)
The fact that FAST ONE moves so fast--ha ha!--and works so well as a whole is amazing to see and I don't know if it has ever been duplicated. Chandler came close in one of the middle sequences of The Big Sleep, but then tapered off. I can't think of anybody else who has done anything close.
I suppose there are some of you that have never read Cain; if that is the case, stop reading this and go acquire a copy of FAST ONE post haste.