Love Blood & Tears by Nicky Weaver (Kozy Books #184, 1963)

Weaver Hitt - Blood Tears

After Ladies’ Man, we find Nicky Weaver as a private eye…or as a meta-writer from the typing fingers of Orrie Hitt.

Nicky Weaver is both the author and narrator in this novel. It is uncertain if this is really the same Nicky Weaver, but why not? At the end of Ladies’ Man, we saw Nicky being taken away by the cops for questioning, but he wasn’t arrested. He could have gotten off from his murder scheme for lack of evidence, or did some short time…it’s been four years between books.

Here, Nicky has driven out to Sand Valley from New York in an old Ford station wagon…wherever Sand Valley is he does not say, but it might be in Nevada because there are casinos and Indian reservations near by. “Sand” might be a nod to Ennis Willie’s Sand, as Nicky Weaver seems to act like Sand: a bad guy who has a moral conscience and always gets the ladies. And Sand Valley is a cartoonish meta-violent city of sex and crime like the settings of Ennis Willie’s books (or the ones I have read).

Nicky’s been hired by the mayor of Sand Valley but when he gets there, the mayor says he doesn’t need Nicky and pays Nicky $750 for his time.

Then Nicky finds out that some of these Indian-looking strippers and bar girls in Sand Valley are slaves…they were sold by their parents on the reservation for $50 a head. It seems to be a common practice and he doesn’t like it. He pays $75 for one girl to get her freedom from being an object of commerce from her fat, dirty mother, but the girl winds up kidnapped, killed, and left in his car to set him up for murder.

He was a quasi-girlfriend in New York, Ann, who covers his ass when he’s broke, and flies out to help him: his car has been stolen, he was mugged of his money, he’s trying to put a kabosh on the white slavery, and he’s been set up for a girl’s murder.

Nicky is a true tough guy who beats people up when they don’t speak; he beds women left and right, and drinks hard. He’s Mike Hammer times two. he’s Shell Scott on a bad day. He makes Philip Marlowe look like a pussy and Spencer look like a tool.

This is also, I believe, parody. At the start, Nicky states, “Hell, trouble is my business so it didn’t make me unhappy” (p. 5) and no one writing a “serious” private eye book would quote Chandler like that unless it was meant to be a joke.

Some may not like Hitt’s foray into the gumshoe genre; it certainly isn’t like his other novels that are couched in ugly reality or about blue collar workers, tramps, good girls, and con games. But the writing is crazy whacky fun, with lots of violence and dames, and I do think Hitt was playing with the form, not being serious.

One of the signatures in my copy, p. 109-42, was printed in the wrong order, so I had to shuffle around. Not sure if the whole print run was messed up, usually it’s only a few copies when this happens.

Also, in the back of the book is the same vague description as the other Nicky Weaver, Love or Kill Them All (Kozy 189), about criminals and the lustful, and both books advertise Kozy #189, Wine, Women, and Bullets

One problem: there was never a Kozy 189. The company went kaput. Seems there is a lost Nicky Weaver caper out there…

So where is it?

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