Self-portrait of a heel, this, in its cold criminal conduct, its lust without love, its tough, tense narrative stands up well against (but does not necessarily derivate from) James Cain. Mike Brandon, son of an East Cleveland school teacher, has an early start on girls, liquor, shoplifting, at 18 leaves town with the police behind him. Working his way to Columbus, he is taken up by Max Pappas, bootlegger, whose patronage does not include his mistress, Doris whom Mike decides he must have. After a week in bed with Doris, Mike faces a vindictive Max, the organized efforts of his gunmen to kill him, and escaping once, Mike returns to murder Max- to help convict Doris of the crime... Effective entertainment.