The first paragraph of these reviews sketches the story's setup. In case someone wants to read the book, I try only to mention major plot points that occur in the early pages. To add some "visual interest" to the post, I usually accompany the text with an image of the book's cover. Flight of an Angel provides an interesting problem. The cover of the paperback has the usual elements (hot babe, guy with gun) but also a serious spoiler. So I've skipped the cover and added a shot of Angel's Flight, which figures prominently in several of the novel's scenes.
Flight of an Angel by Verne Chute. Morrow (1946), 246 pp.
An thirtyish man finds himself in Los Angeles with no memory of the past. He learns that he goes by the name Jamey-Boy Raider, has a job in a defense plant, and (here's a happy surprise) has been living with a lovely stripper on Bunker Hill. With only a few clues to go on, he begins to search for his real identity. He discovers past associations with some low-lifes at a massage parlor. Then he meets a woman who claims to have known someone who looks like him in years past. He's slowly getting to the truth, but he may not like what he's going to find out.
This is a fast-paced novel that runs out of plot twists. Chute keeps the story moving with a terse style and many taxi rides. The action scenes are well staged and the descriptions of apartments and hotel rooms are detailed and vivid. The book starts to go wrong when it violates the rule that really attractive women cannot be rhapsodized about for a hundred pages and then dumped. Readers won’t care much about the second woman, but they will figure out what she’s up to long before the protagonist does. By keeping his characters in motion, though, Chute diverts attention from the shortcomings of the plot and provides an entertaining read.