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Black Wings Has My Angel

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,013 ratings  ·  379 reviews
Chaze's long-lost noir classic, a legend among noir buffs, is back in print for the first time in nearly half a century. The one book Black Lizard never published, it's the dream-like tale of a man after a jailbreak, who meets up with the woman of his dreams... and his nightmares. Phenomenal work of the period, ranking with the best efforts of Thompson, Woolrich, Goodis et ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by (first published May 16th 1953)
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William My Angel Has Black Wings...

But really, the black wings have her.…more
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Glenn Russell
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Goodreads friend William Donelson boldly asserts this isn’t a novel to be read; this is a novel to be felt and a novel to be lived. After my own experience with Elliott Chaze's noir black angel, feeling its dramatic intensity and living through every single page with narrator Tim Sunblade and his beautiful babe Virginia, the slender, poised gal with skin the color of pearls melted in honey, I couldn’t agree more. In order to do such a powerful, complex book a measure of justice, a book spilling
Jeffrey Keeten
”I came back and searched dizzily under the trailer, muttering the way drunks do, and then I heard it. A shuffling around inside the trailer. The little tramp had knocked me in the head with her Southern Comfort and now she was in there loading up…. I saw the light inside the armored car, glowing in slitted shapes through the steel. The rustling was louder. She was sitting on the floor, naked, in a skitter of green bills. Beyond her was the custodian, still simpering in death. She was scooping u ...more
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Black Wings Has ("hath") My Angel

You don't read this story, you live it.

This is a ten-star masterpiece of noir, a work of art, it is literature not pulp, a modern greek tragedy, a tale of life and love and hunger and fear which comes from the deepest heart of the author, Elliott Chaze. Astounding.

No other work by Chaze comes close to this.

Indeed, no other noir comes close to this master work.

(See comments for more pictures etc)

We are Tim, first-person, living his life after an escape from prison
James Thane
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Black Wings Has My Angel was originally published in 1953 as a Gold Medal mass-market paperback, one of the hundreds of pulpish novels aimed at male readers that filled paperback book racks in drugstores and other such places all over the country in the Fifties. For whatever reason, though, and unlike so many of the other of these books that can still be found in used bookstores, this one has become extremely scarce, which is a tragedy because it's a classic of the hard-boiled school. Kudos, the ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Black Wings has my Angel by Elliot Chaze is a NYRB Classics publication.

I ran across a post on PEN America about this book a few weeks back. It was originally published back in 1953 and is considered to be a ‘lost classic’, a book that is not necessarily well known to mainstream noir audiences, but is now considered to be one of the best crime novels written in the prime of pulp fiction. Its reputation has become almost mythic, apparently, but I had never heard of it, so as a collector and love
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of my GR friends, Denny, said that this is in a genre he thinks of as sordid noir. That’s accurate. I just like the way Elliot Chaze tells a story.
In Dallas I got turned around somehow and drove out through a plush Home-and-Garden-Club kind of neighborhood, where all the houses were of long thin wafers o Roman brick or blotchy fieldstone and were set far back from the road, their picture windows shining like gold foil in the late sun. We passed what must have been some kind of club, and ther
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
First published in 1953, this crime noir novel is a real crackerjack.  Rundown juke joints, generous servings of I.W. Harper bourbon whiskey, cigarette smoke wafting in the air.  He goes by the handle of Tim Sunblade; her name is Virginia.  She's gorgeous, brainy, and greedy as all get out.  And boy howdy, she can drive a car like nobody's business.  Working at cross purposes, and then in tandem, this unlikely alliance may be doomed to fail, but the ride is not to be missed.
LeAnne: GeezerMom
ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS ON KINDLE TODAY....seriously, get this and stockpile it for later!

I really love stumbling over flawed characters in dark, surprising stories, but to do so in a rare re-release of a 1953 crime noir was off the charts. This was like buying a cheesy 99 cent print at the flea market, just for its old, funky frame, and finding 50 bucks behind the mildewed mat - my brothers from other mothers, Doug and Kirk, are to thank here! It would never have occurred to me to pick up this obs
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018

And there she was. I guess I'll always remember the first time I saw her, standing there in the half-gloom of the corridor, with the country-town bellhop dressed like an organ-grinder's monkey, almost leaning against her, smirking.
"She's a looker, ain't she, Bub?"

For some reason, the meeting between Tim (an oil-rig worker) and Virginia (a cheap hooker in a small town) made me think of Roger Vadim's "Et Dieu ... crea la femme" . Certainly, the introduction of the blonde bombshell Virginia may w
Nancy Oakes

As I am fond of saying, plot isn't always everything in a good crime novel, and Elliot Chaze's Black Wings Has My Angel is a great case in point. It's also now the best crime novel I've read so far this year, and anyone who knows me knows that I do not say those words lightly. Written in 1953, it is still a masterpiece, in my opinion; dark, dark, and more dark -- the perfect noir novel.

After a sixteen-week gig working as a roughneck on a drilling rig in Louisiana, Tim Sunblade has his first bat
When it comes to noir crime fiction, Black Wings Has My Angel is a cult classic. First published in 1953 by Gold Medal Books (known for drugstore paperbacks with curious titles like Dig that Crazy Grave, Meanwhile Back at the Morgue, Dig My Grave Deep, Death Takes the Bus, and Don’t Speak to Strange Girls), it is being reissued later this month as a NYRB classic. I received my copy today, and read the entire novel in a single sitting. Timothy Sunblade is an escaped convict, a car thief, and a wa ...more
David Schaafsma
“If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time”—Lefty Frizzell song Timothy/Kenneth and Virginia/Jennie sing

This is a deliciously wicked (and I guess recently rediscovered or re-appreciated) noir story published in 1953 from a guy I had never heard of about a vet just escaped from prison who picks up a prostitute and takes her on the road. He has a plan for a Big Heist he wants to pull off. They fall in love, and do knock off an armored car, but early on he isn’t committed to her:

“I was all for dum
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hanneke by: Gary
This is a genuine most noirest of noir novels! Written in 1953 by Elliott Chaze, it has just the right amount of lowlife atmosphere and humor that is required. Melancholy drips from the pages and you just know from page one onwards that this story will end in regret and misery. It is not a story about a private detective a la Raymond Chandler, but about a guy escaped from jail. He has a plan which he worked out in detail in jail and is determined to bring to a good end. It is unfortunate, but pe ...more
Rebecca McNutt
This is a dark book, sort of like a more gritty version of the film True Romance, and it's a well-written classic noir that manages to keep a balance of darkness and light to create a beautiful if not at times depressing story. A tale of two very flawed people whose relationship borders on madness, their quest for money dragging them along as a team. Sunblade, the main character, initially wants to dump his partner, who happens to be a hooker, but instead brings her along for the ride. Theirs is ...more
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of noir or those curious about it...
One thing I love about classic paperback originals are the super pulpy taglines! And this one has a great one:
"She had the face of a Madonna and a heart made of dollar bills."
I love this stuff. :)

The tagline really captured the tone of this hardcore noir, about a convict on the lam named Tim, who spends what was supposed to be one lovely night with a sexy, money-hungry call-girl named Virginia, but which turns into a three-night long love-making session. Afterwards, they're joined at the hip, as
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
The real deal! You can almost smell the gunpowder wafting up from every page.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Damn good writing! Listen to this my brothers and sisters: "You've never heard a siren until you've heard one looking for you and you alone. Then you really hear it and know what it is and understand that the man who invented it was no man, but a fiend from hell who patched together sounds and blends of sounds in a way that could paralyze and sicken. . . . But when it is after you, it is the texture of the whole world. You will hear it until you die."
Also, "Baby, just about anywhere you die the
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers looking for the best book they've never heard of.
Book 19: Mid-20th Century American Crime Readathon
"Unavailable since 1953...except in France!" screams one cover. I had to read this a second time to ensure this unheard of author (by me) and this unheard of book (by me) was really this great.
HOOK=4 Stars: The opening lines are>>>>>"I'd been roughnecking on a drilling rig in the Atchafayala River for better than sixteen weeks, racking the big silver stems of pipe, lugging the sacks of drilling mud from barge to shore, working with my back and g
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Musical accompaniment:

I love thunderstorms. Something about all that rumbling and crashing, the amazing light show in the sky and the ominous threat of tragedy in the air really gets me going. There is something sinister about thunderstorms, but also something magical. The tap tap tapping on the rooftop. The gratitude I feel for my shelter. The wonder of nature, that I can experience the terror of the storm and yet at the same time feel so safe.

What do t
Deliciously noir and a cracker of a story. Tim Sunblade is an escaped felon who plans a heist that will make him rich and will solve all of his problems in one fell swoop........and then he meets the enigmatic Virginia. Neither character is who they appear and both are running from a past that haunts them.

The writing and style for this novel is deceptively simple but it's a novel that does pack quite a wallop and stays with you long after the last page is turned. It's one of those novels that yo
Tom Mathews
Until recently I could count my top pulp novels on one hand even though that hand is missing a finger. That list included:
The Postman Always Rings Twice
Pop. 1280
A Rage in Harlem
Build My Gallows High
Now, though, I need to use the hand that has all five fingers. I have never read anything by Elliott Chaze, haven't even heard of him before, but he wrote one humdinger of a story, even if the title does sound like something created by Yoda. Kenneth is an escaped con with plans for a big score. Virgin
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: literary noir fans
Recommended to Ed by: Bill Pronzini at Mystery*File
This 1953 title is generally acknowledged to be Mr. Chaze's tour de force and a masterpiece in hardboiled/noir crime fiction. I concur. I kept wanting to say the awkward title as My Angel Has Black Wings. Anyway, I'm not going to rehash the plot. Wikipedia delves into it (beware of the spoilers). Tim Sunblade plans and jacks an armored truck (he calls it a "car") with his high class call girl Virginia in Denver. The novel's post-heist half is when the noirish brew really begins to cook. Tim and ...more
The best noir stories are filled with sadness and desperation, loneliness, suspicion, and distrust. In Black Wings Has My Angel, Chaze offers us the perfect mix of blues and hardboiledness.
It is the story of two people all alone in this world and filled with an absolute desperate longing to jump naked in piles of cold green cash. There's a society all its own of the really money-hungry people, we are told and here's two of them.

Like Bonnie and Clyde or Starkweather and his young girlfriend, this
Doug H
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kirk-recommended
Have you ever experienced vertigo? That sick sensation of gravity itself trying to suck you off the edge of the world into a bottomless abyss? That's what reading this was like. I still feel off-balance from it. FANTASTIC ending!

This was a grower for me even after it ended. 4 stars plus an extra star for that ending equals 5 stars. I hope to write a better review at some point. This one deserves it.
Kirk Smith
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-noire, love-noire
What a noire classic! This one's lit not pulp. You will feel this to your core. Powerful, visual and twisty. There's even a nice little scene with five journalists sitting in a bar. Amusing as hell, but it makes me regret seeing the demise of so many of those fellows just to be replaced with enews. This hardboiled tale is also a great love story. This goes to my top shelf.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard hitting, gripping and dark noir with some fantastically inspired prose that drew me in fast and deep. I'm almost embarrassed how many highlights I made in this book, especially given how short it is!

The story is exceptionally well crafted, from the money obsessed femme fatale rolling around nude in piles of cash to the hardboilded ex-war hero criminal on the lamb and their steamy, dysfunctional relationship as they plot an armored car heist. It is dark, and genuinely chilling, with the two
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Charles Williams, Gil Brewer, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, et al
Recommended to Still by: Goodreads friend Steven

The best of the hopeless hardboiled noir heist-novels.
Way up there with the best of the best hardboiled greats: Charles Williams, David Goodis, Jim Thompson.

Pitiless and gripping.
Dead beat dread that drips like moisture from a clammy cavern wall.
Action packed yet layered in several coats of suffocating suspense... two losers who can't keep themselves from tickling Fate's low hanging fruit.

To quote my favorite Bob Dylan lines: "Waiting to find out what price/You have to pay to get out of/Going t
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fucking and crime are the basis of all classic noir, and clearly the novel, "Black Wings Has My Angel," has that in spades. Elliot Chaze wrote a noir tale that is basically a definitive frame of what noir is. A man against a system or himself, and falling for his weakness or the power of the sexual pull. One's life starts from the bottom, and goes straight down to Hell. It's a classic premise for a crime narrative, and Chaze's novel is another example of that shadowy world.

The peaks of heaven a
J.M. Hushour
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terse and tremendous read, so perfectly encased in itself, that it's almost asphyxiating to read. The story of an armored car heist is only part of the story--the rest is a kind of infuriating Wild at Heart-ish, or maybe more Romeo is Bleeding-ish story of doomed and mutually reinforcing abuse love. Here let me put to you this way: it's a heist-and-its-aftermath story featuring two people who fuck and beat the shit out of each other throughout the stages of said heist. The kind of novel you'd ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sterling example of noir fiction, with top-notch writing and tension that gets ratcheted right to the snapping point. You'll see the outlines of the end pretty much from the beginning, but it's the details that really make it shine (in, y'know, a really dark way).

Chaze's prose is sharp and vivid and sensual, and at times surprisingly poetic ("skin that looked like pearls melted in honey"). Even the secondary characters are three dimensional and interesting ("Eddie wore a green canvas rainhat ev
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Forgotten Classic...: 9/18 - Black Wings has my Angel 7 15 Sep 28, 2018 05:40PM  
Group read. Group lost! 3 10 Jun 03, 2018 05:10PM  
Pulp Fiction: April 2018 - Black Wings Has My Angel 27 55 May 12, 2018 01:52PM  
NYRB Classics: Black Wings Has My Angel, by Elliott Chaze 8 54 Feb 04, 2016 02:20PM  
Pulp Fiction can be better than "literature" 1 14 Oct 30, 2013 08:30PM  

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Lewis Elliott Chaze (November 15, 1915 – November 11, 1990) was an American war veteran, journalist, and novelist. After nearly half a century, his "long lost" 1953 noir classic Black Wings Has My Angel (originally issued as One For The Money), a legend among noir buffs, was reissued in 2005, sparking new interest in this talented and prolific author.
Elliott Chaze was born to Lewis and Sue Chaze i

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