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Rendezvous in Black

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,113 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
On a mild midwestern night in the early 1940s, Johnny Marr leans against a drugstore wall. He’s waiting for Dorothy, his fiancée, and tonight is the last night they’ll be meeting here, for it’s May 31st, and June 1st marks their wedding day. But she’s late, and Johnny soon learns of a horrible accident—an accident involving a group of drunken men, a low-flying charter plan ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Modern Library (first published 1948)
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Dan Schwent
On the eve of his wedding, Johnny Marr's fiancee is killed in a freak accident by a liquor bottle hurled out of the window of a small plane. Johnny snaps and goes on a psychopathic killing spree, tracking down the passengers of the plane and killing the most important woman in each man's world. Can Inspector Cameron stop Johnny before it's too late?

Rendezvous in Black has a lot in common with my favorite Woolrich book, The Bride Wore Black. Johnny systematically hunts down each man, figures out
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cornell Woolrich came to my attention when Tom Piccirilli talked him up on his website, stating that Woolrich's take on noir is one of Piccirilli's favorites. Fast-forward about three years, move the scene to Classic Books, the Michigan Mecca for used books--and there I am, holding a copy of "Rendezvous in Black" with a big smile on my face.

Said smile remained throughout this entire read--which, happily, took place over a single afternoon that saw me with nothing to do. I devoured this wicked ta
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Woolrich is one sick writer... or maybe not. But for sure this is truly one of most twisted novels ever. A young man (Johnny Marr!) is waiting for his wife, and what happens? Someone in a plane above throws over a liquour bottle and it hits and kills the poor girl. The moment it happens, Johnny Marr smashes his watch to keep that time forever. That image is so beautiful and goth like. So basically he gets a list of those who are on that flight and goes after the girlfriend, wife, or kid. Just to ...more
Randolph Carter
It all starts with a liquor bottle tossed from a plane. Woolrich uses this seemingly insignificant incident to weave a tale of deadly consequences. While Woolrich is writing his little roman noir, he is really talking about the indifference of the cosmos to your or my fate. This tiny event will leave a consequential trail of blood engulfing the innocent and guilty equally and nobody will ever be the same again. Since it’s Woolrich we’ll get to see some psychopathology, paranoia, revenge, horror, ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
The saddest revenge story ever written? Johnny Marr, an almost anonymous young man in middle America (think Our Town), must find the man who killed his fiancée and make the killer suffer as he has suffered. But there are five possible killers, so they must all suffer. The plots that Johnny executes against them require near-omniscience on his part. Never mind that Johnny could have identified the actual killer much more easily--for better or for worse, Woolrich demands that you grant him absurdi ...more
Antonius Block
On the surface, Rendezvous in Black might look like one of the coldest stories ever told. An ordinary young man meets an ordinary young woman every night outside of a drugstore window. One day he is a couple of minutes late, and by the time he arrives she has been horrendously killed. Completely devastated by the experience, the boy is unable to move on, waiting at the same place each night, eventually deciding to make ‘them’ feel what he feels. He finds a list of five passengers on a plane, men ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The structure of Rendezvous in Black was intriguing in that the character first presented to the reader as the protagonist, disappears into the ether after the introductory chapters, only to emerge later as the homicidal specter that haunts a series of interconnected short stories. They’re not separate stories per se, but feel self-contained even though linked by common strands. Each story, or rendezvous, details a new cycle of revenge, and with each one I found my sympathies bouncing back and f ...more
Michelle B
Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Immensely boring. Tragic events fall a man's girlfriend and he seeks revenge. How he ever discovered the identities of the culprits is left to the reader to figure out. In fact, just about everything of how he pulled off any of his plot is up to you to figure out since he demonstrates no particular skills at the start but somehow transforms into a suave sophisticated Romeo as the story progresses. It's also a story where midway through you say to yourself "enough already, just end it," but it co ...more
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Cornell Woolrich, it came out in 1948. At first his tone struck me as almost modest but what unfolds are revealing insights and the inescapable presense of passion, hate, death, longing, and avenging desperate violence, and pretty soon my impression of his writing tone was altered. He's no wimp afraid of writing a brutal scene and enchanting plot. It rollercoasts with great power and has a great deal of engaging humor especially when dealing with loosers, cops ...more
Carla Remy
This story was very, very dark, and modern feeling (though it's clearly from the 1940s). Disturbingly dark.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very late to the party here of reading anything by Cornell Woolrich - but now I've made that move. I've known of Woolrich for years - have seen his name during the running of many opening screen credits. Films based on Woolrich stories include 'Rear Window', 'Phantom Lady', 'The Window', 'The Night Has a Thousand Eyes', 'The Bride Wore Black' - and on and on and on. It's likely I'll return to his work, now that I've read this terrific novel.

'Rendezvous in Black' is a unique 'revenge' tale that
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
this is one of those books that defy the star-rating system, offering a reading experience composed of equal parts fascination and repulsion. it's a noir novel in the true sense of the term, where the protagonist is the victimizer (and, here, also the victim) and the ending is one that offers satisfaction to nobody at all, not one goddamn soul. you don't root for anybody in these kinds of novels, and what comeuppance there is contains no consolation or atonement or peace or purpose, just a bitte ...more
Ng M.Phuong
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Love isn't like concrete that's poured just once, and then forever after stays hard and fast. Love is fluid, and once in awhile it leaks out before you can stop it and runs away."

5 vụ giết người.
Đầu tiên, hắn vô hình, chỉ hiển hiện sau một thanh đinh đặt sai chỗ. Kế đó, hắn hiện hữu hơn, hắn bắt đầu có hình hài - một kẻ sát nhân giấu mặt. Rồi hắn bắt đầu xuất hiện như một nhân vật thực, hắn trở thành một phần của tấn kịch, hắn tham gia vào nó, chơi đùa trong nó. Nhưng đến cuối cùng, như thể coi
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure when the term "serial killer" came into common use, much less when the serial killer subgenre became popular in fiction.

"Rendezvous in Black," first published in 1948, has got to be one of the earlier examples and it's still one of the best.

The story centers on Johnny Marr (presumably no relation to The Smiths' guitarist), a young man whose bride-to-be is killed in a bizarre accident. Marr vows revenge on the five men he holds responsible for his lover's death. Rather than kill ea
Really enjoyed this. Yes, there are plot holes you can drive a truck through, and yes, sometimes Woolrich runs off at the mouth--er, pen--to the detriment of the action.

But I kinda didn't care; something about his writing generates a mood and tension that never let up. If you're a fan of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, by all means check this out.
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir, novels
One of the best ever revenge story lines and macro plots, even if it falls apart on close reading at the micro plot level. Woolrich gets redundant and purply with his prose at times and that can take away from the story if you let it - so just barrel on through and enjoy the twisted fate of Johnny Marr.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, favorites
I can't even put into words how much I loved this book. I am now a huge Woolrich fan... such a great writer.
This is the second Woolrich book I read and I became an even bigger fan. The suspense is almost unbearable.
Guillermo Galvan
Started good, and then it bored me to tears.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Cada uno de estos libros merecería una entrada propia. Normalmente suelo unirlos en posts conjuntos, porque si no, el blog estaría lleno de entradas de la excelente colección de novela negra/policíaca del sello de RBA Serie Negra. En esta ocasión, y aprovechando el tirón de este monográfico de literatura de género, os pongo a continuación una nueva batería con tres clásicos que ordenaré de más moderno a más antiguo.
El primero del que voy a hab
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this novel a lot more than the first Woolrich novel I read four years ago; “I Married a Dead Man.” I’m glad I gave his work another try, this one kept me hooked the whole time.

I think Woolrich’s writing is something you need to be in the mood for. It’s kinda pulpy, but it’s more of a slow burn, dark, depressive noir feel. This book was more fast-paced than “I Married a Dead Man” but it still has that gloomy pall over it.

This book has such a wild concept at base, a young man takes revenge
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jackrecommends
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Zhu
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleased to get to know another great crime novelist, who, though beyond my time, deserves good attention and appreciation from readers of this particular category of "noir" literary. Impressive prose style and well structured storyline and plot! Will definitely continue with his other novels. This is the kind of writer who could proudly stand side by side with the likes of Raymond Chandler, with no less shine at all!
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a 3.5. The thing holding me back is the sexism, though I know this was written in the 1940s. Where a male over 18 is a "man," but females don't grow up until they're old--the eternal"girl." As a thriller, Woolrich does the formula right--constantly keeping the reader guessing. The blind stalking scene may have inspired the movie"Wait until Dark."
Guy Salvidge
There’s very little I like about this. The plot is ridiculous and convoluted. The characters are thin, the descriptive writing lacking. And Woolrich mangles the English language:

“A streak of flame spit from Cameron’s hand, a shot raged out thunderously, and the decrepit lock splashed into particles.”

In short, I don’t hold Woolrich in high esteem on the basis of Rendezvous in Black.
Elsie Klumpner
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I enjoy Cornell Woolrich's work. This was the best one I've read yet. Full of suspense and a twisting plot. It's quite dark and very satisfying.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read The Bride Wore Black, which Woolrich wrote eight years earlier, this book is an interesting case study. It's essentially an inversion of his earlier novel, but written with a sense of structure and character depth that eluded him the first time around. Eight years is a long time in a writer's development, and Woolrich is no exception. It's a good, dark hardboiled story, even if some of the elements strike me as implausible.
RB Love
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2010
Recommended to me by Eileen McGowan and tripped up a little by her sister CJ who hit me with a key spoiler about the plot when she learned I was reading it. I'd never heard of this book or writer, Cornell Woolrich, until Eileen loaned me this book. And now I'm hooked.
Woolrich was apparently as openly gay a writer as one could be in the '30's and 40's when his work was either successfully pre-dating or coinciding with the pillars of the noir edifice, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, Erle Stanle
Jeremy Good
Jun 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca Lam
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so wistful
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Cornell Woolrich is widely regarded as the twentieth century’s finest writer of pure suspense fiction. The author of numerous classic novels and short stories (many of which were turned into classic films) such as Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Waltz Into Darkness, and I Married a Dead Man, Woolrich began his career in the 1920s writing mainstream novels that won ...more
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