Cabin Fever – Uni-Books, 1954

 

 

Ol’ Orrie’s third published novel, after I’ll Call Every Monday and Love in the Arctic, and a hard volume to find, as many Uni-Book titles are.  Unis were Universal Publishing’s pulp digests before the Beacon imprint, which lead with two Hitt books: Shabby Street and She Got What She Wanted.  The UniBooks format were large, magazine digest sized, 35 cents.

Cabin Fever is a seriously flawed narrative, but also a blueprint for many future Hitt hits: we see the seeds of The Cheaters, Dirt Farm, Two of a Kind, Violent Sinners, Sins of the Flesh, and others.

Danny O’Connor is your usual Hitt hero: a WW II vet, six foot three, broad-shouldered, womanzing. He’s less a heel than he is a chump for women. Yes, he jumbles three women: Tawny, the wife of an older man named Stone; Randi, a waitress; Sue, his ex-girlfriend wgho has been saving herself for their marriage, something Danny doesn’t want to wait for.  There is a cast of charcaters page:

 

Danny is on vacation from his warehouse job…and he is also getting away from Sue so he can cat around. He runs out of money fast so takes on a seasonal job of storekepper at the cabin resort place in the mountains, a job that Hitt had and a locale and job that pops up now and again in other Hitt books.

Within hours, he beds the owner’s younger wife, Tawny. She tosses himself at her, so what can he do when a hot bonde bombsehll does so? Of course, she has a plan: seduce Danny, get him to murder her husband, get half of the property and money…and her…but then her husband appraoches him to kill her and get a $10,000 payday.

Cain territory.

And of course he is being set up as a patsy by both, along with Tawny’s old boyfriend from her burlesque show days.

An interesting foundation for better books, but a disappointment in bad writing, bantering dialogue, and characters one could care less about.

Damn nice cover, though.

 

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