Hot Blood (Chariot Books, 1961)

This nifty one from ol’ Orrie starts out with the usual young woman Hitt heroine who is naive about the ways of men and the world: Linda. She’s in her home with her auto mechanic boyfriend, Carl, and she gives in and lets him have her body. Then her father shows up, and accuses her of being a whore like her mother, who left him for another man when Linda was young.  He kicks Linda out. She goes to lives in a rooming house that Carl’s mom runs, and this way they have more access to each other.

Linda thinks it’s love: soon there will be marriage and their own place. OIne day she comes home early and finds Carl fucking another female boarder, Shirley, a bra and girdle model for a local store. Carl tries to cinvibce Linda that it means nothing but she won’t buy it,  and moves out to another rooming house.

She works as a secretary at a collections agency, run by a shifty, sensual player named Eddie Wilton.  Here Orrie Hitt does what he does best: giving minute detail of small business operations.  When Hitt has written about the inner workings of insurance agencies, door to door sales, food distribution, and hotel management, we know Hitt has drawn on his personal experience.  Hitt also tackles some social issues here about credit, spending, and how past due accounts are handled in collections.

The way Eddie collects money may have been fine mid-20th Century, such tactics are illegal now.  Eddie harasses people endlessly on the phone and in person, even resorting to threats and blackmail.  He has employed a woman who owes, Marla, in exchange for her debt wiped clean, she uses her female wiles to get into private offices or homes of men with large bills owed, then Eddie threatens them to have the woman cry rape, destroying their reputations and possibly marriages.

Shirley winds up leaving her modeling job and doing this, and Eddie wants Linda to do it too.  Linda has moved in with Eddie, first as a guest then lover, and this doesn’t make Carl any happy. Carl wants to take Eddie down, expose his blackmailing ways.

This is a very readable and informative book from Hitt, and while it has one of those silly moral endings, the explicit detail of the the collections racket makes you shudder. Forget the title.

On the Hitt Scale, a 9.2.

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