Again the escape-flight theme, as in his earlier The Midsummer Fires (1948), which compounds chaos for punk on the lam, Randy Blane, and Rowdy, the 17 year old daughter of his old love, Aileen. Rowdy is to marry unexciting, conventional Price Dean in a few months but dislike for her Delta town and irritation with Price, underline her attraction to Randy and when he is wounded she is the means of his escape, in spite of rising flood waters. They find a hide- out in a rendezvous of shady to vicious characters, where, as Randy's chances for life grow slimmer, Rowdy is ready to prostitute herself to get the necessary medicines. They are informed on, Randy gets away and Rowdy hurries to see him again in New Orleans. There she witnesses his assassination and the killing of his murderer and on her return learns from her mother more of Randy's past and is ready and prepared to settle down with Price. The crazy unease of untried youth, the forming of a personality at odds with the world as Randy's self-knowledge of his insecurity and hermit panic is revealed, Alleen's dedicated withdrawal from the problems of living- these are purgatory people- pretty plumly worded in whom negation is greater than affirmation. For followers of the psychological novel, there's a full quota of schizoid agonies and aberrations in vivid styling.