Frankly, I'm puzzled. Here's a book that is (1) definitely a man's book rather than a woman's; (2) that belongs possibly to the hard-boiled school of James Cain and his ilk; (3) that should be read for its terse, vivid bits about the fringe of the underworld, its psychological study of a man descending, through forces somewhat outside his control, lower and lower in an already low social plane. It's not strictly a novel. It's a relentless turning inside out of a way of living -- brothels, drug haunts, bars, shady dives, crooks, gangsters in miniature, lodging house keepers. There is a singularly little integrity or decency in the lot. Even when one feels that here is a bit of loyalty -- there a bit of sympathy -- one gets sold short. Sordid -- not as rough as it might be, but calling a spade a spade without evasions -- certainly not pleasant reading, and one wonders why it had to be written. A microscope put on the progress down -- hill of a little man who got caught in the crookedness of a so-called pal. The fact that the book was picked from 500 American manuscripts for the prize is evidence that its importance cannot be overlooked. Have some man on your staff read it and place it for sales appeal.