This early novel from John D MacDonald, first published in 1951, is a fast-paced and easy read from an author who would become of the legends of the crime/suspense writing world. While today it may seem a bit dated, particularly in its choice of villains, it's still a story that will grab the reader's attention and keep you riveted through each and every plot twist.
And the plot twists sure do keep coming at a lightning pace throughout this story, right from the opening pages. Our protagonist, Dillon Bryant, is a successful engineer off on assignment after just finishing his honeymoon. News from home comes that his new bride, Laura, a beautiful women whom he had only met weeks before proposing marriage, is in deep trouble. He rushes home to find out that she has, in fact, been murdered. Filled with grief and rage, he feels he cannot leave it up to the police to solve the case - he wants his own kind of revenge against the killer.
To reveal more at this point would be to give away too much of the plot. Suffice to say it involves everything from the seamy side of New Orleans, to the Red Scare, to former Nazis on the lam, and a spunky newspaper reporter who we know from fairly early on is the one Dillion *should* be married to - but it may take a very long time for either of them to figure that out, if they both manage to survive.
MacDonald shows his craft in the swift pacing of the story, the way he easily describes action, scenes and characters with brevity and well-chosen details. He brings his world to life for readers and draws you into his characters' plights and dramas quickly, keeping you turning the pages to find out what will happen to them next. While I wouldn't rate this as one of MacDonald's best works by far, it is certainly worth reading if you are a fan of his writing, or looking for a good story quite typical of the time period in which it was written.