THE DESPERATE HOURS by Joseph Hayes

THE DESPERATE HOURS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This enlarges on a familiar theatrical device, that of criminals moving in on innocent people for refuge, and intensely explores the agonizing plight of the Hilliards. Glenn Griffin, his brother, Hank, and a fellow convict, Robish, in their prison break, return to Indianapolis so that Glenn may revenge himself on Jesse Webb, of the Sheriff's office, and collect their loot. They choose the Hilliards' home as a hide-out and instigate a program of mental and physical subjugation from which Dan cannot find a way out. Intimidated but knowing silence and inaction protect his wife, Cindy, his daughter, and little Ralphle, Dan keeps his daily schedule, cannot accept help when it is offered by Cindy's suspicious beau and exchanges heroism and bravery for enduring toughness. Jesse Webb works in the dark but when he gets his lead to the Hilliards tries to find an angle which will prevent their murder; Glenn loses his control when Hank runs away; Cindy's beau precipitates the pay-off but pays up by nearly getting killed -- and the Hilliards are safe. The utter isolation from police protection, the dead end of planning, the tension of uninterrupted threats and the innumerable details of interlocking activities -- these add up to a tight, believable first novel -- which you will probably see on TV... News just received that this will be Literary Guild for March ensures a send-off.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1954
Publisher: Random House