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CLOUD NINE by James M. Cain


by James M. Cain

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1984
ISBN: 0445402970
Publisher: Mysterious Press

An unwise posthumous publication--completed just before his death--in which Cain's lean, dialogue-charged style can't even begin to redeem a peculiar plot and nowhere characterizations. Real-estate man Graham Kirby, the narrator, is confronted by angry teenager Sonya, who claims to be pregnant, thanks to rape (an ugly orgy-esque situation) by Graham's brother Burl (a creep already responsible for one murder, it seems). Graham winds up marrying Sonya, even though she's had a miscarriage in the meantime: they've discovered cloud nine passion together. Meanwhile, Graham's wealthy not-quite-lover, 58-year-old Jane, is being seduced by a vengeful Burl--who'll marry Jane and have Graham cut out of her will. So Sonya fights back, breaking up the Jane/Burl marriage (while wearing a chastity belt) and eventually eliminating psycho Burl altogether. Lots of material for a psychoanalytic approach to Cain, perhaps (Graham's mother hovers heavily)--but just a strange, unpleasant curiosity for fans of his earlier, far more coherent fiction.