Oct 16, 09
Read in September, 2009
This was a nice little post-war fear novel. Frank, thief extraordinaire (and very lightly-drawn character) steals a 35-pound (or so) gold nugget from a physics lab. This nugget has been used in nuclear experiments and is quite radioactive. So Frank, in is desperation to avoid being caught and sent *back* to prison, leaves a trail of sickness and death across the country.
The book is more entertaining for its 1950's zeitgeist than it is for the story itself. So little was known about radiation poisoning at the time that obvious symptoms are wrong or missing. And the characters speak of radioactivity with utter terror. There are gangsters and molls and pickpockets and seductive young dancers galore here as well. Again, not a great story, but one that was fun to read for the difference in attitudes 50 years later.