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Whip Hand

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Bill Brown, an L.A. cop fleeing a frame-up, ends up in Dallas and right in the middle of a kidnapping and murder of a six-year-old girl where he is considered a main suspect.
Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published September 4th 2012 (first published 1961)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
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Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Charles Willeford fans, definitely
Recommended to Ed by: longtime fan of the author
I've read a fair number of Charles Willeford's novels, and I've never been disappointed in one. His Florida cop detective Hoke Moseley series (Miami Blues, New Hope for the Dead, Sideswipe, and The Way We Die Now) is his best known works. Those books came later in his writing career. WHIP HAND was a Gold Medal entry published by a W. Franklin Saunders in 1961, who was much later identifed to be Charles Willeford. At any rate, WHIP HAND takes place in Dallas and involves an L.A. cop on the lam, t ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Charles Willeford, Jim Thompson, Charles Williams, Dan J. Marlowe
Recommended to Still by: I collects Willeford

It's better not to start a'runnin' in the first place, 'cause the road jus' don't have no end once't you start.

Bill Brown's having another shitty day as a traffic cop back on the beat in Los Angeles. He was busted a while ago from the Auto Theft Bureau after getting caught soliciting bribes.
Some guy makes a right turn on red and Bill blows his whistle to warn the miscreant. The guy looks Bill directly in the eye and makes the turn anyway, a great big grin on his face. This enrages Bi
This is the second time through this book and I have to admit I admired it even more this time. Elmore Leonard said you should never write in dialect, but Charles Willeford (it was ghostwritten for his friend Frank Sanders) pulls it off. I loved it though the violence was at times hard to take even for a veteran of hardboiled crime novels like me.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: willeford
whip hand, charles willeford...from 19--, kindle version, and it has that cover with the woman standing there, a whip in one hand..."w. franklin sanders"....35-cents at the top! heh! lash by bloody lash, the she-devil from dallas would get revenge


i think this is the 15th willeford title for me. begins:

bill brown

my reinitiation was off to a thundering start. it was my first day back in traffic after three good years in auto theft bureau, and the day was not a pleasant one for me. not ple
Jim  Davis
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been reading early Charles Willeford novels and trying to do it chronologically. This is my 5th and I have enjoyed them all. Some people have called this noir fiction but I don't think it actually his. There are dark moments and disturbing acts of violence but the inevitable bad outcomes are only for the kidnappers themselves. It is a great example of southern based crime/mystery fiction. Some people didn't like the use of a different narrator for each chapter but I liked it here. There a ...more
Earl Adams
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disgraced cop and Dallas debutante take on redneck nasties. Very, very entertaining.
Not Willeford's first published novel - it was published in 1961 under a pseudonym - but a 1952 manuscript suggests it may have been the first novel he wrote. The plotting is something else; a back and forth prize fight. Just as one character gets the upper hand, blamo! And now another character is driving things. So an excellent, high-energy, constantly shifting story line about a kidnapping and the hunt for the kidnappers. Where this book got a bit annoying for me was with the also constantly ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This hard-boiled crime novel tells the tale of the kidnapping of Mary Ann Dixon, a child from a rich Dallas family, by three Okies and the trainwreck that follows. The narrative genius of this tale is that it's told from seven characters' perspectives that overlap as the story unfolds. I'm a recent convert to Willeford after reading Pick-Up, but I am adding him to the ranks of Jim Thompson as a crime writer who writes the HELL out of a story. Available for free! ...more
J Benedetti
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Willeford so far (and I'm working my way through all of them) a kidnap / murder worked through switching 1st person narrators where dang near the entire spectrum of white US southern society is covered.

For understanding the United States of America,no one is better than Willeford.

'My headache was gone!'
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved this story! what I enjoyed most is the way every chapter was told through the eyes of each character, yet stayed as a continuous non-stop story ...
a keep u on the edge of ur seat pace, characters were believable and his style of writing, phenomenal!
Larry Webber
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing resurrected early Willeford
Ron Zack
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charles Willeford, apparently writing as W. Franklin Sanders, published “Whip Hand” in 1961 (although it was probably written in the early 1950s). The book is an excellent example of the classic noir genre and handles the elements in a unique way. Some sources suggest the book was written by both Charles Willeford and W. Franklin Sanders. But I came up blank finding a trace of the second author and many believe this is the work of Willeford alone.

There are 25 chapters, each written from the poin
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This has been described as a lost classic of noir crime fiction. That accurately sums up this novel and there is an interesting back story about how it was published under another author's name, went out of print, and decades later someone found the manuscript and discovered the actual author was Charles Willeford. Willeford has a number of fans and one produced a volume biography.

The story, characters, etc. are on the crude side, think in terms of Mike Hammer. Fans of the subgenre may like this
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Finished this several days ago but haven't had time to update about it!

I was digging the noir vibe to this book, but tbh the plot felt incredibly messy, with too many side characters (not to mention the heavily written out accents and not surprising but nevertheless tasteless racist phrases).
Larry Piper
Sometimes, one just needs a spot of pulp reading. So, I found Charles Willeford...somewhere. He didn't disappoint.

So, Bill Brown, is a cop in LA, who appears to have had some dealings with shady characters at one time or another. Things get hot and "it is suggested" that he might be better off were he to disappear. So, he heads off to Dallas, Texas. At the bus station in Dallas he sees a seedy character come in with a very nice suitcase, much too nice for the guy carrying it. Brown decides to "
R.W. Clark
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulp-and-mystery
This is pulp, it reads like pulp, the story is pulp, and the considerably difference here is that the characters are dirt-farm poor pulp.

Distinctions abound as each of these characters has their own point-of-view chapter (or several). Further, their dialect is utterly dirt farmer.

What makes pulp? The scope of their aspirations. Scope is not the same as scale. In terms of scale, pulp characters are going to go for the whole enchilada. Scope reveals that the enchilada is all they plan for. If they
Warren Stalley
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When LA Cop Bill Brown goes on the run from The Syndicate he gets mixed up with a trio of inept but deadly kidnappers in Dallas. Mistakenly wanted for the murder of the kidnapped little girl Brown tries to round up the killers while dodging the local Dallas cops. The Whip Hand (aka Deliver Me from Dallas!) is a sometimes brutal slice of noir from author Charles Willeford told from multiple points of view, each character flawed and wicked in some way. I really enjoyed Wild Wives by the same autho ...more
Douglas Castagna
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast paced. The story moves along at a quick clip as each chapter shifts focus to different characters in the narrative. Sometimes the phonetic language some of the characters is a bit distracting but only at first. Willeford manages to find different voices for all the characters as they carry their respective chapters. Not much in ways of plot, its pretty straightforward, but where it shines in its unique character study.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was ablaze from me turning the pages so fast. Bloody, grim pulp while switching character perspective every chapter.
I would recommend this if you like your violence fairly straight-forward and your characters tough.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book_club, fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this fine example of pulp fiction. The adventure started on the first page and took me for a ride on a curvaceous tale with not a chance to catch my breath.
Matt Sears
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's an amazing dark hard boiled crime story with an equally amazing cover. And I believe is legally available for free out there somewhere. ...more
Lukas Evan
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-pulp
Willeford's pretty bad first novel, originally published under a different title and attribute to another author. Only for the Willeford faithful. ...more
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Charles Willeford was a remarkably fine, talented and prolific writer who wrote everything from poetry to crime fiction to literary criticism throughout the course of his impressively long and diverse career. His crime novels are distinguished by a mean'n'lean sense of narrative economy and an admirable dearth of sentimentality. He was born as Charles Ray Willeford III on January 2, 1919 in Little ...more

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