Violent Sinners (Kozy Books #164)
The cover for this one is a tad deceiving — looks like one of Hitt’s suburban affairs books, but it’s actually set on a black dirt farm outside a small, upper NY state town, Mechanicsville (pop. 20K), that produces mainly onions. The owner, Hart, is in his 50s, rich, and a widower who has recently re-married a 21-year-old blonde bombshell, Lucy (why are so many Hitt women named Lucy? or Wilma?).
Art Lord is a little different than other Hitt heroes — he’s 20 (Hitt’s men tend to be 26-35) and six foot six (many Hitt men seem to always clock in at six-two, probably Hitt’s fantasy size from his five-five). The book opens with him getting fired from his factory job and going to the rooming house where he lives with 19-year-old Marie, who works in a bikini factory and sometimes models the product, getting groped at.
Art hears about a handyman job on the Hart Farm residence, where three previous men were either hired or quit fast. He soon realizes it’s because of Lucy and her wanton ways, teasing the men around her.
The set-up is much like Hired Lover, or any Cain/Thompson-like noir: rich older husband, young wife, employee/lover and a plot to murder the old man and abscond with the wealth.
Mr. Hart is also a slave driver — Hitt makes some social commentary on land owners and migrant workers. Hart likes to beat them up for his own amusement, fearing little repercussion because he’s rich and the workers are illegal aliens who won’t bring charges, or have any right to in the eyes of the cops.
One day the migrant workers turn against Hart and beat him up, breaking ribs and his macho ego.
Lucy says this is the perfect opportunity — kill Hart and make it look like the workers did it. Art is about to go through with it when he overhears Lucy talking to one of senior Mexican workers, whom she is also sleeping with, and her plan to double cross Art so he will do time for the murder.
He turns the table on them both.
Another good Hitt novel, well-paced and with a happy, moral ending, as he returns to Marie, marries her, and they start a family.
Having babies seems to be important to Hitt, as his women, at the end of many books, wind up knocked up and everyone is happy about it.