Women’s Ward (Softcover Library, 1966)

Hitt - Women's Ward

I wanted to like this one. I started off liking this one, until half-way through and then it unraveled and didn’t seem at all plausible — granted that any Hitt (or sleaze) novel is possible.

First, the cover is quite misleading, with the sultry incarcerated woman, and if this might a nympho-sex-nightmare romp in prison or an institution.

There is a woman institutionalized for mania — a bit of a loose canon wild gal who has been placed in the hospital’s crazy bin by her sister and brother-in-law, who happens to be a doctor there.

The narrator is a tall tough Hitt hero working part-time as a night orderly, and day as a radio DJ on a small station. He falls asleep at the console and is fired — the radio job angle is never fully developed.  Radio guys appear now and then in Hitt’s books because he worked radio himself, but so little information is given that we wonder why — the ins and outs of a radio seems more interesting that life of an orderly, or maybe not…

Orderlies can fool around with female inmates. Or the wives of doctors, as out hero soons discoveres, while he has a girlfriend out there who keeps pressuring him to get a stable job at the local factory so they can get married.

But it’s the usual juggling three women, except one of them is emotionally unstable and one mentally unstable — which sister really belongs in the cuckoo’s nest?  And how crazy is the girl who wants to marry a going- nowhere heel like out hero?

Written toward the downward turn of Hitt’s career, post-1965…the sexual situations are a little more involved since the censors were not breathing down publisher’s backs as much…

On the Hitt Scale: C+.

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